Date of Award

2012

First Advisor

Colette van Kerkvoorde

Second Advisor

Nancy Bonvillain

Abstract

Since the early 1990s, a great deal of research has been conducted addressing the subject of emerging new ways of speaking among multiethnic urban youth in central Europe as a result of the language contact due to heavy immigration in the 1950s and 60s. In Germany, this research has traditionally focused exclusively on “simplifications” found in these varieties, characterizing them as the result of an insufficient or non-native knowledge of German. Recent research has found compelling evidence that the grammatical reductions found in these multiethnic urban youth varieties are in fact both systematic and internally consistent and that they furthermore lay the groundwork for grammatical innovations. This thesis will be a thorough introduction to Kiezdeutsch, literally 'neighborhood' German, the emerging multiethnic youth language (Jugendsprache) variety in the German language with a focus on its particular form in Berlin. The introduction will focus on three central topics: the structure of Kiezdeutsch, including new grammatical innovations and reductions on the phonological, morphological, and syntactic levels, crossing and code-switching in the context of Kiezdeutsch, and the sociolinguistic aspects of Kiezdeutsch.

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