Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/288908
Title:
Texas Czech: An ethnolinguistic study
Author:
Dutkova, Ludmila
Issue Date:
1998
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This project is based on six months of ethnolinguistic fieldwork in rural Texas Czech communities, mainly in Granger (Williamson County) and West (McLennan County), exploring the role that an obsolescent language continues to play in the immigrant community and in the shifting definitions of its members' ethnic identity. Drawing on the community members' perspective, I examine the causes of discontinued transmission of Czech, the notion of a speaker of Texas Czech/Moravian and of the Texas Czech speech community, the contexts of Texas Czech use and its role in the speaker's identity, the self-defined ethnolinguistic identities vis-a-vis the speakers' idiolects, and attitudes toward the attempts at language revival. Two groups of focal informants (born before and after 1945) include second-to-fourth generation descendants of the first Texas settlers from the Lachian and Wallachian regions of Moravia (presently part of the Czech Republic). The database consists of fieldnotes from participant observation, 39 interviews, and attitudinal questionnaires. Structured tasks were used to elicit comparable linguistic data on lexicon, dialectal and reduced features of Texas Czech. Among my findings are that the stigmatized image of Texas Czech tends to implicitly justify the discontinued language transmission, because speaking a "broken" language is undesirable. Members of the speech community, the narrowest section of the Texas Czech community, include 'visible' activists, often perceived as Czech speakers regardless of their language ability. Any use of Texas Czech, encouraged only by specific functional and social contexts, manifests ethnic group membership, yet one does not have to speak the language to feel Czech or Moravian. The informants' self-definitions reflect the process of intergenerational ethic redefinition. Among creative and often commercialized manifestations of Czechness, Texas Czech folk music helps maintain the 'idea' of the heritage language. Most informants value their cultural heritage and support in principle any efforts to preserve the language, but they realize its limited utility. Yet the interest in learning Czech among the youth exists and should be exploited. Overall, a comparison of Granger and West shows that the effective display and marketing of the "Czech heritage" does not necessarily enhance chances for language retention.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Language, Linguistics.; Anthropology, Cultural.; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Second Language Acquistion and Teaching
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Hill, Jane H.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleTexas Czech: An ethnolinguistic studyen_US
dc.creatorDutkova, Ludmilaen_US
dc.contributor.authorDutkova, Ludmilaen_US
dc.date.issued1998en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis project is based on six months of ethnolinguistic fieldwork in rural Texas Czech communities, mainly in Granger (Williamson County) and West (McLennan County), exploring the role that an obsolescent language continues to play in the immigrant community and in the shifting definitions of its members' ethnic identity. Drawing on the community members' perspective, I examine the causes of discontinued transmission of Czech, the notion of a speaker of Texas Czech/Moravian and of the Texas Czech speech community, the contexts of Texas Czech use and its role in the speaker's identity, the self-defined ethnolinguistic identities vis-a-vis the speakers' idiolects, and attitudes toward the attempts at language revival. Two groups of focal informants (born before and after 1945) include second-to-fourth generation descendants of the first Texas settlers from the Lachian and Wallachian regions of Moravia (presently part of the Czech Republic). The database consists of fieldnotes from participant observation, 39 interviews, and attitudinal questionnaires. Structured tasks were used to elicit comparable linguistic data on lexicon, dialectal and reduced features of Texas Czech. Among my findings are that the stigmatized image of Texas Czech tends to implicitly justify the discontinued language transmission, because speaking a "broken" language is undesirable. Members of the speech community, the narrowest section of the Texas Czech community, include 'visible' activists, often perceived as Czech speakers regardless of their language ability. Any use of Texas Czech, encouraged only by specific functional and social contexts, manifests ethnic group membership, yet one does not have to speak the language to feel Czech or Moravian. The informants' self-definitions reflect the process of intergenerational ethic redefinition. Among creative and often commercialized manifestations of Czechness, Texas Czech folk music helps maintain the 'idea' of the heritage language. Most informants value their cultural heritage and support in principle any efforts to preserve the language, but they realize its limited utility. Yet the interest in learning Czech among the youth exists and should be exploited. Overall, a comparison of Granger and West shows that the effective display and marketing of the "Czech heritage" does not necessarily enhance chances for language retention.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectLanguage, Linguistics.en_US
dc.subjectAnthropology, Cultural.en_US
dc.subjectSociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineSecond Language Acquistion and Teachingen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorHill, Jane H.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest9912064en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b39105039en_US
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