Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Political Science

First Advisor

Peter Blicke, Foreign Languages

Second Advisor

Paul Johnston, English

Third Advisor

Thomas Kostrzewa, Global and International Studies


German; Sociolinguistic studies


The German nation has a long history of fragmentation, from the mini-states of the Middle Ages to the eastern and western republics of the recent past. These barriers affected the speech community in particular. Among the various borders that shifted through Central and Eastern Europe for centuries, dialects arose as a result of strong political and cultural identities. Without a strong centralizing force to integrate them, the many communities remained relatively homogenous, which provided fertile soil for unique linguistic development. The most recent partition of East and West scarcely lasted half a century and did not create a discrete speech community on par with the former principalities and kingdoms. The East-West rift in Germany produced a limited impact on the language, which has been rendered largely irrelevant in the post-unification years. In this article, I intend to observe the linguistic divergences that arose in German between the two Cold War Germanys and compare those results with the influence of the dialects on the language in the pre-modern and early modern period to prove that the twentieth century East-West divide bore little lasting significance on the language.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

pecinovsky.pdf (3864 kB)