Cité Duits (lit. ‘mining district German’) emerged as a Belgian Dutch-Maaslands-German contact variety among the sons of immigrant miners in the coalmining district of Belgian Eisden in the 1930s. Following a sociolinguistic and grammatical framework, this dissertation examines the linguistic character of Cité Duits with a focus on personal pronouns and progressive aspect. It studies the underlying language contact dynamics and explores the emergence and social functions of Cité Duits. While the linguistic analysis is based on an audio corpus of spontaneous-like group interactions, Pechtcombined methods of data collection from sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology.
The results show that Cité Duits emerged in a setting of multilingualism where speakers already shared a common language, and therefore it served to mark an in-group identity but not to ensure communication. The linguistic analysis reveals that Cité Duits cannot be easily characterized as a variety of German, or Dutch. Rather, there is much evidence toward an amalgamation of features due to intensive language contact between Belgian Dutch, the Limburgish dialect Maaslands and varieties of German. If the lexicon resembles colloquial German, boundaries between the three varieties are generally blurred.
Language Contact in a Mining Community may be of relevance to researchers interested in the contact processes between closely related varieties, language mixing and fusion, variability and change in spoken language, and more broadly, dialectology and language related to migration and mobility.