"It just doesn't sound right": Spracherhalt und Sprachwechsel bei deutschen Kirchengemeinden in Cole County, Missouri : Resultate einer Spurensuche
University of Kansas
Germanic Languages and Literatures
This item is protected by copyright and unless otherwise specified the copyright of this thesis/dissertation is held by the author.
MetadataShow full item record
A major focus of current sociolinguistic research is the issue of minority language maintenance and language shift. German-American speech islands, existing well into the twentieth century, are providing a valuable basis for such research.This thesis presents the results of research involving twenty-one church congregations in Cole County, Missouri, with a German heritage and representing five different denominations: Roman-Catholic, German-Methodist, Evangelical-Lutheran (Iowa Synod, Missouri Synod} and German-Evangelical. Its goal is to comprehend the process of language shift in these congregations and bring out its dominant influential factors. To achieve that goal, publications and records of the congregations were analyzed in the following four categories: church services, parochial and Sunday schools, church clubs, official records and public relations. Combined with some information gained through interviews with and questionnaires from older church members, those written sources provided data on the general timeline and the factors influencing language shift, and finally, the way the congregations with their members saw and see themselves: as Germans, German-Americans or Americans. These data were compared to the statistics of the denominations and previous research.The results show clearly that the First World War is just one of many factors,·but not the·major reason of language shift in those German-American congregations. Though it may have initiated the change in some cases or was even being "used" as such an initiator, I am suggesting that shift in language use and cultural perception cannot happen without changes in the social and demographic structure of the immigrant communities. Apart form that, diminishing institutional support leads to language loss as well as loss of cultural awareness.Those results being extracted, the research also offers valuable insight into questions of ethnicity and identity and is a basis for future work in these areas.
M.A. University of Kansas, Germanic Languages and Literatures 2002
- German Dissertations and Theses 
- German Studies Dissertations and Theses 
- Theses 
Items in KU ScholarWorks are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
We want to hear from you! Please share your stories about how Open Access to this item benefits YOU.