Language island

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A language island (a calque of German Sprachinsel; also language enclave, language pocket) is an enclave of a language that is surrounded by one or more different languages.[1] The term was introduced in 1847. [2]

Examples of language islands:

Zhongshan Min can be seen in the west coast of the Pearl River Delta, far from the rest of Southern Min


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Language and Space. An International Handbook of Linguistic Variation, Volume 1, 2009, Section "The history of language island research (Sprachinselforschung)", p.335
  2. ^ Peter Auer, Frans Hinskens, Paul Kerswill. Dialect change: convergence and divergence in European languages. p. 221. "The term 'Sprachinsel' was used for the first time in 1847 to designate a Slavonic community surrounded by a German-speaking population close to Konigsberg, East Prussia cf. Mattheier 1996. 812"
  3. ^ 李世瑜; 韩根东 (1991). "略论天津方言岛". 天津师大学报 (2).
  4. ^ Richard VanNess Simmons (1999). Chinese Dialect Classification: A comparative approach to Harngjou, Old Jintarn, and Common Northern Wu. John Benjamins Publishing Co.