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Diglossia (was Re: Nur-ellen in the world of Brithenig)

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg.rhiemeier@...>
Date:Monday, September 11, 2000, 22:35
Me govanen!

John Cowan tetent:
> > "Jörg Rhiemeier" wrote: > > > I guess that Kerno was officially held to be a dialect of Brithenig > > until a few decades ago, while in fact it is a language of its own. Are > > Brithenig and Kerno mutually intelligible or not? > > Um. There really is no fact of the matter about it. Are High and Low > German mutually intelligible, or not?
They are not, or only marginally so. My mother language is High (Standard) German (though the language of my forebears was Low German), and I still find it quite difficult to understand spoken Low German even though I have familiarized myself with it a bit. It is practically a foreign language, though quite an easy one because it is notably similar. In fact, in many ways Low German is more similar to *English* than to High German. (This also makes it easier to me.) At any rate, it is closer to Dutch than to anything else. The situation, however, is complicated by the fact that Low German is itself splintered into about half a dozen main dialect groups (and countless local verieties) some of which are barely mutually intelligible. According to what I have heard from several Norsemen, mutual intelligibility between Danish, Norwegian and Swedish is better, but I cannot comment on that from my own experience.
> The best we can say is that > Kernow is diglossic, with Brithenig the H language (education, > technical writing, radio, etc.) and Kernu the L language (household > talk, traditional poetry, etc.).
Pretty much the same situation as in northern Germany, though Low German has been on the retreat since 1800 in educated circles, in the cities, and in the south of northern Germany.
> Kernowmen think of Brithenig as "la Mistarista" (the mixed-up one).
Reminds me somewhat of some Ashkenaz Jew referring to German as "a parody on Yiddish", but that's always a matter of viewpoint. Syld, Jörg.