Language Contact and Deliberate Change

in Journal of Language Contact


This paper explores the process of "negotiation", whereby speakers of two or more languages converge on a partially or entirely shared linguistic system. This process is surely unconscious in many or most instances, but sometimes speakers are aware of what they are doing as they "negotiate" the linguistic outcome of language contact. I provide evidence for the latter assertion, and discuss the difficulties inherent in any attempt to generalize about conscious vs. unconscious negotiation. I also contrast the process of negotiation with some other views of linguistic convergence. Finally, summarizing previous results, I argue that the existence of deliberate contact-induced (and other) linguistic change vitiates all efforts to achieve a deterministic predictive theory of contact-induced language change.

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