Publication details [#63923]

Baclawski, Kenneth P., Jr. 2018. Diglossia and change from below in Eastern Cham. Asia-Pacific Language Variation 4 (1) : 73–102.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Diglossia canonically refers to language situations with unequal attitudes towards a formal ‘H’ variety, connected to writing, and a colloquial ‘L’ variety, connected to everyday speech. This paper claims that variation that arises as a marker of diglossia can become dissociated from it and persist in the L variety, if it is sufficiently orthogonal to the writing system. With a sociolinguistic survey (n = 30), this paper examines five variables that were markers of quasi-diglossia in Eastern Cham in previous decades. Three of the variables continue to be stereotypes or shibboleths of diglossia, while the other two no longer exhibit any correlation with diglossia: the spirantization of r and the labial coarticulation of ŋ. The latter were changes from below that decoupled from diglossia, because they were sufficiently opaque to Cham script.