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Problems of "Culture and Society" in Dialect
A dialect is itself a systematic existence of language and makes a dialect society, spreading over a region of some extent. A dialect society is, at the same time, a dialectal culture sphere. A dialect society, i.e. a dialectal culture sphere, can be larger or smaller. Viewed from a higher stand point, dialect societies of lower degree are gathered into a larger dialect.
What characteristics are recognized in the smaller dialect society, i.e. the smaller culture sphere, a typical case of which is a small village? One is its closedness. A smaller dialect society is closed, conservative and lentegressive. The force of the tradition is seen there. On the other hand, a smaller dialect society has its own innovativeness. These two characteristics—closedness and innovativeness—are recognized also in larger dialect societies.
When we try a bird's-eye view of the dialectal conditions and dialect spheres in Japan, we can instantly recognize the linguistic flowingout from the cultural centre to its circumferences. Concerning this flowingout, we have already the so-called "Wave Theory". In this paper I have followed up the movements of "the waves" and developed a practical distribution theory.
In regard to the distribution, the border districts are liable to come into question. In the border districts, both conservativeness and innovativeness exist. The effect of the latter, i.e. the innovativeness in the border district may be summed up in a general theory called "the Border Shift Theory".
At times a dialect society can be artificiallyformed. In feudal clans in Japan, social dialects or dialectal culture spheres were often built up artificially.
Dialect societies will still survive for ever coinciding with the everlasting existence of regional societies. This must be also an interesting cultural phenomenon.
The Hiroshima University Studies Literature Department
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