Koineization From a Semiotic Perspective, Example of the Semiotic Space of Betina

Author:
Ivana Škevin; Sveučilište u Zadru – Odjel za talijanistiku
Summary
Betina’s variety, like other Čakavian varieties in Dalmatia, while in contact with other more dominant dialectal varieties or the Croatian standard variety, as a consequence of the language accommodation, loses its most salient characteristics which cause the creation of a new koine. This paper proposes a semiotic approach to the problem of dialectal stratification and assumes that the koineization occurs not only because of the above mentioned, and by many known sociolinguists confirmed reasons, but also as a consequence of alteration and transformation of the semiosphere. In Lotmanian terms, a semiosphere is the semiotic space of the culture in question. Without the semiosphere, language not only does not function, it does not exist. The analysis was conducted on a selected lexical corpus of 56 words that name different kinds of containers used in households or in agriculture (pots, dishes, baskets) mostly of Romance origin and it involved interviews with speakers between the age of 20 and 45 living in Betina. The research confirmed that in Betina, particularly in the vocabulary of young speakers, the Romance elements are rapidly disappearing not only as a consequence of speakers’ attitudes but also as a consequence of a rapid disappearance of human practices and cultural objects that once had an important role and which used to create very particular and distinctive semiotic spaces.
Key words
Betina; containers; koineization; semiosphere; text; semiotic border
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