language, social narrative, sociolinguistic, community


This longitudinal study (1972-2015) focuses on the largest Danish American speech community in the United States of America, which is in Audubon, Cass, Pottawattamie, and Shelby Counties in western Iowa (the towns of Elk Horn, Kimballton, Audubon, Harlan, Exira, and Atlantic). The sociolinguistic mechanisms (code switching, speech acts, storytelling) of Danish social and cultural narrative are identified and examples are provided. We examine the social aspects of sustaining identity and heritage in a now globally linked community, and note lessons learned for other communities seeking to sustain their heritage in a healthy and productive fashion.