Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

<< Cultural Dynamism and Language Contact

Language Contact in the German-Austrian Language Island of Núcleo João Pinheiro (Brazil)

Christiane M. Pabst ( Hochschule Berzsenyi Dániel, Szombathely)



The German-Austrian Language Island of Núcleo João Pinheiro (which was discovered in the year 2003 by me) is situated in the Federal State of Minas Gerais in Brazil. Its habitants are the descendants of protestant immigrants who came from the cities of Hamburg, Stuttgart and Vienna in the twenties and thirties of the 20 th century and who expected an economically better life in the country. The first part of this contribution is preoccupied with the emigration’s motives and the circumstances of colonization in Núcleo João Pinheiro.

In the beginning this colony was an endocentric speech community (in the sense of the definition in Lesley Milroy’s Language and Social Networks (Oxford: Blackwell 1980), a language island in a broader sense. Now the third generation immigrants live there and the language contact between the compensated Austrian-German dialect is influenced by Brazilian Portuguese. The interferences can be noticed on all linguistic surfaces - some are more affected by them, others less. There are several reasons for the present tendency to an exocentric speech community, hence to a language collective. The second part the contribution is concerned with a closer consideration of these linguistic facts.

Interferences are not only given concerning language but there is also a cultural transfer from Brazilian customs to the habits of the language island’s inhabitants. Interestingly nevertheless, the tradition which was brought along from Germany and Austria is not on the wane but it is supplemented by Brazilian traditions. This phenomenon is also reflected in the compensated Austrian-German dialect. In the last part of the contribution evidence is presented which demonstrates this fact.

Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-09-16