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Editor: Robert Nicolaï
This new peer-reviewed book series focuses on the study of language contact, language use and language change in accordance with a view of language contact whereby both empirical data (the precise description of languages and how they are used) and the resulting theoretical elaborations (hence the statement and analysis of new problems) become the primary engines for advancing our understanding of the nature of language and the dynamics of language change. This involves linguistic, anthropological, sociological, historical, and cognitive factors, but also a potentially critical approach to the methods used for the study of the phenomena. Such an approach makes a major new contribution to the understanding of language change and the dynamics of language at a time when there is a notable increase in interest and activity in this field and where a continual reshaping of theoretical approaches is apparent. This implies particular attention to the epistemological frameworks that reshape the requirements for knowledge in this field. The series will publish monographs as well as edited volumes and conference proceedings centered around a coherent theme.

The series has published one volume since 2014.
Editor: Robert Nicolaï
This volume critically exposes problems in present language contact analysis and uses empirical findings to provide answers to the following questions. What can we learn from the study of language contact for our knowledge of languages, their dynamics and their functions (systemic elaborations, language practices, semiotic developments)? How should linguistic theory incorporate the empirical findings of language contact studies, and how could these alter underlying postulates of existing models (choice of analysis and epistemic framework)? Which role has language contact been playing in the history of linguistic research and academic life? And how has this idea influenced individual researchers and their approaches?
In: Journal of Language Contact
Author: Robert Nicolaï

Studies on language contact are sufficiently developed to make it possible to ponder about its entailments. This implies that the researcher sets himself aside in order to grasp the dynamics of the various approaches. This paper first (i) goes back on the notion of “viewpoint”, (ii) presents the notion of “persistence of view point”, and (iii) proposes a simplification of the epistemic inputs that structure a “domain α”, that of a project’s conditions of existence of an epistemic construct, to a “domain β”, which is dependent on the ‘viewpoint’ involved in the process of the epistemic construct.

Second, the paper investigates the four spaces that are sensitive to contact : (i) the structural space, (ii) the social space, (iii) the “rationalization” space, and (iv) the psycho-physiological space. The third part deals with the logical inferences of language contact, and more specifically of its margins, i.e. language mixing, using as a basis of discussion the little read book by Schuchardt Slawo-deutsches und Slawo-italienisches (1883). The book, which shows the importance and the ordinariness of language mixing [Mischsprache], induces to question the obliteration of this issue in academic research, while studies on language contact are booming. The answer involves a reflection on the possibilities to keep in our research the compatibility between classical and new viewpoints.

In: Journal of Language Contact
In: Journal of Language Contact
In: Journal of Language Contact
Author: Robert Nicolaï

This paper compares the conceptual framework of Schuchardt’s perspective on language mixing (or at least my representation of it) with that of ‘semiotic dynamics’ as presented in several of my earlier works (Nicolaï, 2011, 2012a). These two approaches entail a same interest in the activities of individuals and groups (communication actors, etc.) who, in their ordinary usage, produce and transform languages. Thus the framework of semiotic dynamics introduces conceptualizations, obviously developed independently of the process which « Slawo-deutsches und Slawo-italienisches » exemplifies, but which, despite differing trajectories, intersects with it. This intersection justifies my assertion as to the work’s modernity and the usefulness of reviewing it. At the same time, this review broadens the scope of research and reflections in this field.

In counterpoint, I will look into the justified (or not) propensity of scholars and documenters to consider a priori the objects-languages with which they work as constitutively homogeneous entities, albeit subject to modification and transformation by a (contingent) contact situation.

In: Journal of Language Contact
In: Journal of Language Contact
In: Journal of Language Contact