Students of Sri Lanka Malay agree that the language has been heavily influenced by the local languages, Sinhala and Tamil. Differences arise over not only the degree and timing of such influence from each language, but also the extent to which the language developed through untutored second language acquisition (on the part of Tamil &/or Sinhala speakers) &/or intense bilingualism (on the part of Malay speakers). Nordhoff’s arguments for Sinhala influence are examined in the context of Thomason’s (2001) framework for establishing contact-induced change and found to be convincing for some features, but weaker or unconvincing in others. The argument for early Sinhala phonological influence is based on an unsurprising distribution and the mechanism of substrate influence (Siegel, 1998, 2008) which has not been shown to operate in the context of intense bilingualism. The linguistic differing consequences of untutored second language acquisition and intense bilingualism have not been thoroughly investigated, except on lexicon (Thomason and Kaufman, 1988). The Sinhalese component of Sri Lanka Malay lexicon stands at less than 1% (Paauw, 2004), a figure inconsistent with the claim of heavy Sinhala influence through intense bilingualism.

In: Journal of Language Contact
In: The Genesis of Sri Lanka Malay

Sri Lanka Malay is a creole-like language spoken by the descendents of soldiers, exiles and slaves brought to Sri Lanka by the Dutch from Java and their possessions in the Indonesian archipelago in the 17th and 18th centuries and by recruits brought by the British from the Malayan Peninsula and elsewhere in the 19th century. Various authors have noted the influence of indigenous languages on the structure of Sri Lanka Malay but disagreement has arisen over the source and mechanism. An examination of the interaction of definiteness, number, animacy and the accusative case in Sinhala, Tamil, and Sri Lanka Malay nominal inflection shows that Sri Lanka Malay aligns more closely here with Tamil than with Sinhala. The pattern of accusative case marking, in particular, can be attributed to Tamil influence. Moreover, the ubiquity of accusative case marking in Sri Lanka Malay together with its obscure origin and the absence of recent cataclysmic social events to trigger rapid linguistic change indicate that this alignment is of long standing, rather than a recent development.

In: Journal of Language Contact


We tested some costs and benefits associated with variable levels of mobbing response towards nest predators by American robins. Playbacks of robin mobbing calls attracted a major predator of robin nests, the northwestern crow. This demonstrates a potential cost to robins that give mobbing calls. We then used human 'predators' to test whether reproductive success was related to mobbing intensity. We first showed that mobbing responses to humans resembled those shown to a stuffed crow. Second, we demonstrated that responses of pairs of robins were consistent at different tests at the same nest, but were less consistent between different nesting attempts of the same pair. The first result validates our experimental procedure, but the second result suggests that variation in mobbing response is partly determined by characteristics of the nest or nest site, rather than by the level of aggressiveness of the parents. When we compared mobbing responses by robins at exposed and well-concealed nests, robins with exposed nests used extreme responses (swoops and hits) more frequently than those with concealed nests. We did not, however, find an consistent relationship between mobbing intensity, stage of the nestling cycle, or reproductive success. Robins did not respond more strongly late in the nesting cycle, and pairs that responded weakly, or strongly, experienced similar levels of nesting success.

In: Behaviour