The Limits of Convergence in Language Contact

in Journal of Language Contact


This article discusses the contact situation between English and Spanish in the United States, a situation characterized by both maintenance of the minority language and shift to English. Of relevance to understanding the linguistic phenomena that develop in this situation of societal bilingualism is the fact that the minority language is constantly being revitalized by interaction with large groups of immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries.The article identifies some of the linguistic changes that affect the minority language at different points in the proficiency continuum or different stages of attrition, and argues that in this particular contact situation convergence toward English is constrained by the structure of the minority language undergoing change.

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