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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Atlas of multilingualism in Daghestan: A case study in diachronic sociolinguistics


This paper introduces the future Atlas of Multilingualism in Daghestan, a project based on extensive field study of the language repertoires of the residents of rural highland Daghestan. The Atlas will provide quantitative data on multilingualism across a relatively compact linguistic area, which is, culturally and socially, both homogeneous and diverse. It will represent a wide range of ethnic contact situations in a qualitatively and quantitatively comparable way. The data are collected by the method of retrospective family interviews, which is designed to obtain data about bilingualism in the past. The paper gives a brief sociolinguistic overview of Daghestan, describes the method and its restrictions, explains the design of the future Atlas, and provides two sample chapters. One of the chapters describes three villages in northeast Daghestan, and the other describes two villages in southern Daghestan.

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