Overt and Covert Hierarchisation of Standard-Dialect Varieties in the Lithuanian Speech Community

Loreta Vaicekauskienė (The Institute of Lithuanian Language, Vilnius)

The presentation discusses the relationship between overt and covert language values and the changes of language use in the late modern speech community of Lithuania. It examines the theoretical presumption formulated by Copenhagen school of attitude research that language change is governed by the subconsciously offered covert values, while the consciously offered attitudes reflect another, opposite, system of values and support the official overt ideologies. The dominant ideological discourse is introduced and the hierarchies of speech varieties (the so-called conservative, modern and regional standards) revealed by the direct research methods (quantitative and qualitative interviews) are compared with the experimental data. The presentation focuses on the findings from representative speaker evaluation experiments and label ranking tasks conducted with 9th and 10th grades students (15-17 year olds) in the schools of capital Vilnius and several smaller towns situated around two regional centres of Lithuania, Telšiai (‘the capital’ of the Lowlands, West Lithuania) and Marijampolė (the centre of Suvalkija, South Lithuania). The Lithuanian data prove the existence of covert values, but the question of their role for the factual linguistic choices remains open. However, it is not unlikely that the subconsciously offered values point to ongoing changes coming to light in the future.

Keyword: Vaicekauskiene

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