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A Typology of the Prestige Language

Henry Kahane
Language
Vol. 62, No. 3 (Sep., 1986), pp. 495-508
DOI: 10.2307/415474
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/415474
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Typology of the Prestige Language
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Abstract

The recurrent features of a 'prestige language' are broadly reviewed. The prevailing socio-political constellation provides motivations for its rise, the ways of acquiring it, the domains it transmits, and the causes of its decline. The process of its nativization can be analysed synchronically in terms of creolization, and diachronically in terms of stratigraphy. The linking of a native language to the dominant culture results in either substratum or superstratum influences. Nativization may be overt-as lexemic, morphosyntactic or phonological borrowing-or it may be covert, expressing itself in style, calques, and metaphors. The lasting impact of the prestige language consists in standardization, the creation of a sprachbund, and a relatively stable culture of bilingualism.

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