The Acceptance of Standard Lithuanian in Private Lithuanian Correspondence: Initial Phase
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In the study, the acceptance of Lithuanian written standard language is analyzed using Einar Haugen’s model for the development of a standard language (sl). The history of Lithuanian written language is frequently examined from the position of those developing the standard language. In this study the acceptance of sl is approached from the viewpoint of the ordinary language user and examined from the perspective of the interaction of sl and dialects. The chronological boundaries chosen for the study is from 1900 to 1939. The material analyzed in the study consists of letters. In all, the study analyzes the language of 119 letters written by forty one different authors. The analysis revealed that up until WWII, in the letters written by authors from the agrarian culture, orthographic and phonological features were the first to be accepted; the morphology remains dialectal. In examining the intensity of sl acceptance, the study discerned two stages in the acceptance of sl: the initial stage and the conscious orientation towards sl stage. In the initial stage, it is characteristic to notice particular usages of lexemes or forms; however, there is no consistent acceptance of sl features on the phonological or morphological level. The stage of conscious orientation towards sl is associated with a more consistent adoption of sl’s norms and the usage of hypercorrections. The conscious intention to write in sl becomes more widespread in the 1920s. The adoption of sl orthography correlates most with the author’s age and generation. The results of the analysis revealed three groups of author cohorts: those who were born before 1880 (the oldest generation), those born between 1880 and 1895 (the intermediate generation) and those born after 1895 (the youngest generation). In the letters of the oldest generation, sl writing begins to predominate in the 1920s; the intermediate generation adopted sl script a decade earlier. The youngest generation’s writing habits formed only on the basis of the sl script. In contrast to the press, whose script did not vary from the beginning of the twentieth century (second decade), the traditional orthography was used for a considerably longer time in letters.