Geschichte, Sprachpolitik und Lebenserzählungen: Erste Gedanken zu Sprachbiographien in Südtirol
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Based on the analysis of eight narrative interviews focussing on the language biography of Italian and German native speakers in South Tyrol (Italy), the paper explores the interplay between individual biographies and state practices. After characterizing South Tyrol from a sociolinguistic perspective, the essay provides an overview of the historical processes affecting this area since 1918, when it was incorporated into the Italian state, and illustrates current language policies in protection of the German language minority. Against this background, the analysis of the eight audio-recorded language biographies focusses on two main topics, namely L2-learning and inter-group communication, exploring interviewees' representations, experiences and attitudes towards languages and speech communities and sheding light on differences and similarities between Italian and German speakers. Finally, the role of the local German dialect in the definition of identity is discussed.