Images of Linguistic Homeland of the Young Eastern “Aukštaitians” of Kupiškis and Utena

  • Laura Geržotaitė
Keywords: perceptual dialectology, linguistic homeland, traditional dialect, Eastern Aukštaitian subdialect, mental map, association


    The article presents a research study addressing the images of the linguistic homeland of the young Eastern Aukštaitians of Kupiškis and Utena. The material surveyed in the study consists of the data from the research conducted under the principles of perceptual dialectology.
    The analysis shows that the school students of Utena consider themselves active users of the dialectal code. Kupiškis youth tend to distance themselves from this self-expression. The subjects share similar attitudes towards the domains of usage of the dialectal code. The drawn (mental) maps reveal that it is the youth of Utena who tend to identify their linguistic homeland with the areas of dialects more often. By establishing an actual distance between themselves and the locations of the neighbouring subdialect, Kupiškis school students possibly dissociate themselves from their own linguistic expression.
    The attributes that describe the representatives of the traditional dialect, or NORM, are quite clear in the dialectal code images of the young people polled in the study. Both the subjects from Kupiškis and those from Utena tend to associate a person who speaks a dialect with rural areas. In the opinion of the majority of Kupiškis students, a dialectal code is a linguistic expression of the past and the older generation. They consider this code inseparable from respect for language, culture, and land more often than the respondents from Utena.
    The borders of the variation of the linguistic homeland drawn on the maps of Utena students virtually coincide with the boundaries of the East Eastern Aukštaitian regiolect that geolinguists defined in the second decade of the twenty-first century. This linguistic formation is very similar to the area of the so called Fifth Eastern from the reconstructed map of dialects by Antanas Baranauskas or the Eastern Aukštaitians of Kupiškis under the classification of dialects by Zigmas Zinkevičius and Aleksas Girdenis and the surrounding area of the so called Sixth Eastern or the subdialect of Utena.
    The verbalised and visualised attitudes reveal the relationship between the young generation of Eastern Aukštaitians and the historical objective linguistic variation both of their birthplaces and of the entire eastern part of the Lithuanian language area.