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Abstract

This article has three goals. First, it provides a broad cross-linguistic survey of phonological change in contact situations focusing on the suprasegmental domain. The term suprasegmental refers here to syllable structure, stress patterns, tonal patterns, and vowel and nasal harmony systems. Secondly, it assesses phonological change to suprasegmental variables whereby external influence causes an increase in complexity in the recipient language’s structure. Thirdly, using insights from the phonological typology literature, it provides a preliminary framework to evaluate suprasegmental phenomena, which can then serve as an additional tool to disentangle inheritance from contact-induced change. Data from 45 languages suggest that the suprasegmental domain provides fertile ground for inspecting contact-influenced increases in linguistic complexity. Overall, we argue that the data reviewed here highlight the relevance of phonological structure as a variable in studies of language contact, which have been mostly preoccupied with morphosyntactic variables.

Open Access
In: Journal of Language Contact

Abstract

The universality of kinship terms means they are regarded, like much basic vocabulary, as resistant to borrowing. Kin term borrowings are documented at varying frequencies, but their role in the dynamics of change in this core social domain is understudied. We investigated the dimensions and the sociolinguistic contexts of kinship borrowings with 50 kinship categories from a global sample of 32 languages, a subset extracted from the World Loanword Database. We found that more borrowings take place in affinal kin categories and in generations denoting relatives older than ego. Close kin categories also have borrowings, but the borrowed items usually coexist with other, presumably non-borrowed variants. Colonisation and the spread of cultures and religions were main inducing forces for kin term borrowings; new terms often enter a language via bilingualism. These tentative patterns can be studied further with larger datasets in future systematic studies of kinship borrowings.

Open Access
In: Journal of Language Contact

Abstract

In order to understand why languages become endangered, linguists must shift from documenting the last fluent speakers to documenting the larger ecology of language use in an area. The papers in this special issue all address different aspects of documenting language multilingualism. They address three related topics: (1) consideration of the state of multilingualism in endangered language ecologies; (2) tools and methods for transcribing, annotating, analyzing and presenting multilingual corpora; and (3) methods in documenting and studying language contact in process.

Open Access
In: Journal of Language Contact
A Socio-Cognitive Approach towards Loan Processes and Their Linguistic Effects
Author:
The open access publication of this book has been published with the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation.
This study investigates the interrelation between use, meaning and the mind as a central issue of contact-induced linguistic variation and change, using the influence of French, Spanish, German and Yiddish on English as case studies. It relies on innovative methodological approaches, including the use of an integrative, socio-cognitive model of the dynamic lexicon, to describe borrowing processes and their linguistic outcomes. The multitude of socio-cultural contexts relevant to the introduction of the various borrowings since the nineteenth century has been reconstructed. This implies the identification of borrowings reflecting connections of linguistic features and culturally embedded attitudes. Taking the effects of cognitive and social factors on conventionalization and entrenchment processes into account, this study makes an original contribution to existing research.
In: The Dynamic Lexicon of English
In: The Dynamic Lexicon of English
In: The Dynamic Lexicon of English
In: The Dynamic Lexicon of English
In: The Dynamic Lexicon of English
In: The Dynamic Lexicon of English