OHTSUKI Minoru   Faculty of Foreign Languages Department of English Language   Professor
■ Title
  Language and Linguistic Variation:
Further Inquiry into the Bipolarity Hypothesis and Its Consequences
■ Outline
  We have redefined "bipolarity," proposed by Ohtsuki (2013) an indispensable condition for the existence of an individual language, as "the existence of two competing but unequal linguistic varieties under the arbitration of an individual language, one of which is the major (or superordinate) and the other the minor (or subordinate). It is not "monopolarity" (that has lost its dynamism) or "multipolarity" (that leads to separation and independence of individual languages), nor Ferguson's static "diglossia" (which is not internal to an individual language) but this "bipolarity" that enables languages to undergo dynamic historical change and transition as well as dialectal variation and distribution.

The relationship between the major and minor poles is not fixed but fluctuates, with shifts occurring between different poles and different linguistic varieties (e.g. social dialects / regional dialects; medium-dependent [written and spoken] styles / situational styles). In general, it is not so much the case that the former minor pole replaces the major pole as that a new pole emerges and gains the major position.

Since an individual language is based on the existence of its native speakers and their speech community, it loses its dynamism and becomes "frozen" or is discarded if its native speakers die out or their speech community ceases to exist. Introduction of bipolarity is the linchpin of the revitalization of a dead language (a monopolized language) and the naturalization of an artificial language (a monopolar language in its origin).

  Single   Gengo no Sekai   Gengo Kenkyu Gakkai   38(1/2),pp.99   2020/12

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