The Journal of Language Contact (jlc) has now been around for more than ten years and established itself as the leading journal for matters of language contact and contact-induced language change. Founded in 2007 by Robert Nicolaï (Nice), it now enjoys a wide circulation as well as an international readership and authorship in a field of theory and research that has become increasingly established within linguistics (Nicolaï 2007, 2011). With much support form its editorial board and many colleagues willing to act as reviewers, jlc has steadily increased its impact and prestige, starting from an open access online only journal, moving on to an online and print journal, and more recently to a full open access journal. Especially this last step ensures new readership, also in less affluent areas of this world.
The founding editor Robert Nicolaï has decided to withdraw from the editorial board prompting a new editorial team. Henning Schreiber (Hamburg) now serves as the editor-in-chief, Peter Siemund (Hamburg) as the co-editor-in-chief, and Alexandra Aikhenvald (Cairns) as associate editor. We believe that this new editorial constellation offers crucial expertise on related issues like language typology, language classification, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics, which are “in contact” with the question of language contact. This also concerns the globalization of English, which is likely to be responsible for the greatest number of current language contact situations and contributions submitted to jlc. The new editorial team wishes to thank Robert Nicolaï for his lasting impact on the journal and his most industrious and successful editorial work.
Even though the editorial team has changed, our readers can continue to expect a high quality, high impact journal dedicated to core issue of language contact and contact-induced language change, particularly regarding the relevant social and linguistic predictors as well as their interaction. jlc will proceed to “welcome submissions of scholarly papers which contain original empirical data and case studies instrumental for formulating theoretical generalizations” and “appreciate those submissions which aim at contributing towards general linguistic debates, elaborating on important theoretical issues in the field” (Nicolaï 2011:2). However, we consider it vital for the success of the journal to focus its attention on the core issues of contact induced language change and variation, though language contact underlies a considerable number of scholarly fields including sociolinguistics, bilingualism/multilingualism, language acquisition, pidgin and creole studies, to name just the most important ones. As these fields have their own dedicated journals, we deem it wise to steer clear of destructive competition and develop the areas we feel we have the highest expertise for.
In spite of the journal’s narrow focus, there is host of new and topical issues in language contact studies that deserve attention and that we wish to promote. They result from recent and pervasive changes in social structure, but also the convergence of research fields that used to work independently of one another. As for social structure, globalization has triggered numerous new contact situations of differing types of intensity, duration, and social organization. Digital media make it possible to organize these contact situations in virtual spaces, to a certain extent at least. Globalization also means that languages, language families and linguistic areas are now coming to the fore that used to be somewhat marginalized, especially from a Western point of view. We see much potential for new studies in China and adjacent areas, the Arab world, Africa, and Oceania. Evidently, English is a major driving force of language contact in these areas. Research promoted by jlc also shows that in the same parts of the world linguistic hegemony by locally dominant languages created historically specific contact scenarios and settings of language endangerment. Regarding the convergence of research fields, it would appear that sociolinguistic variation studies is currently being broadened so as to include language contact situations and to analyze them using their finely developed methodological toolkit. It goes without saying that we warmly invite new submissions in these areas.