Gilaki: From Language Regimes into Minoritizing

Sedighe Zamani Roodsari


The effects of language contact depend on many different factors, such as language prestige, government and community support, people’s preference, linguistic proximity of the languages, among other things. As such, while there are some broad potentially predictable outcomes in situations of language contact, it is important to analyze each language contact situation in its own context. The aim of this study is to examine the maintenance and social function of Gilaki in the city of Lahijan located in the province Gilan, Iran. This study also poses the question whether Gilaki is at risk of becoming an endangered language. The participants (N=395), students at a language center and their families, completed a questionnaire with 36 questions. The participants were grouped according to gender, age, educational background, occupation, and spouse’s mother tongue based on a self-reported data collection style. The questionnaire, inspired by Parasher’s model (1980), examined the participants’ language use and preference in six social domains of family, friendship, neighborhood, transaction, education, and administration. The findings show statistically significant differences in the participants’ preference toward Persian in all six social domains. This study contributes to the body of work in language contact of lesser analyzed languages and sheds light on the trajectory of minoritized languages.

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