Language contact affects case categories in various ways. This article examines the effects of contacts between linguistic codes (languages, unrelated or related, or language varieties): changes in one code on the model of another. It deals with inflectional case markers, affixes, and adpositions from which they evolve. Though most adpositions express more specific relations, some are relatively desemanticised. Affixes and case-like adpositions may fulfil similar functions; the close correspondences between Dravidian case suffixes and Indic postpositions. Case markers and case functions are acquired through what is called ‘borrowing’, ‘diffusion’, ‘transfer’, ‘interference’, ‘replication’, etc. Speakers copy case markers or case functions from a model code (a ‘source’, ‘donor’, or ‘diffusing’ language) and insert the copies into their basic code (a ‘recipient’ or ‘replica’ language). The term ‘copying’ is used to stress the non-identity of models and copies. This article also discusses selective copying and grammaticalisation, copiabililty and stages of grammaticalisation, copying of valency patterns, polysemy and syncretism, and impoverished case systems.
Bickerton (1974, 1981, 1984) claimed that the “prototypical” creole tense-mood-aspect system was made up of two components: an inventory of three categories (anterior tense, irrealis mood, and non-punctual aspect) and an invariant ordering of tense, mood, and aspect. This article explores the tense-aspect systems of selected groups of creoles whose lexifier languages were European languages such as English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. It discusses the similarities and differences among them, and explains these in terms of the linguistic inputs as well as the processes of internally and externally motivated change that operated in the course of formation and later development of the creole languages. The article approaches this task from the viewpoint of grammaticalization processes, which are associated with situations of natural or untutored second-language acquisition. Finally, it considers the emergence of tense-aspect systems in two creoles with very different inputs and histories: Haitian Creole and Sranan Tongo.
This article examines the case and agreement systems of Amharic with particular reference to the phenomena of differential subject marking (DSM) and differential object marking (DOM). It discusses two interrelated issues: the semantic factors that may be relevant to DSM and DOM, and the interaction between DSM/DOM and agreement on the verb. First, the article provides a brief typological and genetic background of the Amharic language and then establishes the presence of the grammatical relations subject and direct object on the basis of language-internal formal evidence. It also considers word order in Amharic, the accusative suffix -n, the distribution of the object/indirect object agreement suffix, the quirky (non-canonical) case marking of certain subjects, and experience predicates.
Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald
Evidentials, as a grammatical means of overtly expressing information source, play a pivotal role in communication, cognition, and speakers’ status within a community. This accounts for their frequent spread in language contact situations. Evidentials often develop as a consequence of areal diffusion. A language surrounded by languages without evidential distinctions is likely to lose evidentials. Evidentials are among the defining features of a number of well-established linguistic areas, among them the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Baltic region in Eurasia, and the Vaupés River Basin linguistic area in Amazonia. They have made their way into a number of contact varieties of major European languages, including Spanish and Portuguese. An obsolescent language may lose or restructure its evidentiality system depending on the dominant language speakers are shifting to. Further factors propitious for a spread of evidentials in language contact include multilingualism and shared discourse genres and speech practices.
Victor A. Friedman
Tense/aspect systems tend to be more resistant to contact-induced change than modal systems. Thus, for example, the tense/aspect system of Romani—whose adult speakers are all bi- or multi-lingual in a broad range of languages—is extremely stable, whereas the modal system is always calqued or borrowed. This article examines tense/aspect contact phenomena in the first linguistic area to be recognized, the Balkans, but the principles involved have broad applicability. It focuses on the classic Balkan languages—Albanian, Greek, Balkan Slavic (Bulgarian, Macedonian, and the Torlak dialects of Southeast Serbia and Southern Kosovo), and Balkan Romance (Romanian, Aromanian, and Meglenoromanian), as well as the Balkan dialects of Romani, Turkish, and Judezmo. Taken together, this group of distantly related or unrelated languages gives ample demonstration of the variety of tense and aspect phenomena to be found in language-contact situations. Contact-induced language change is essentially a surface phenomenon. The article also considers the morphology of tense markers, perfectivity in Slavic and Greek, auxiliaries and particles, evidentiality and contact, narrative imperative and expressive tense, and areality versus typology.
This article examines the relation between word order and morphology, and evaluates the implications of Creolization for comparative-historical linguistics. It provides a brief critique of certain foundational assumptions in Creole studies and presents a theoretically grounded overview of a selected subset of verb-phrase-related properties in Haitian Creole. The article considers the consequences of the theoretical Creole exceptionalism and compares the Haitian Creole data with germane data from a couple of other Romance-lexifier Creoles.
Hein van der Voort and Peter Bakker
Polysynthetic languages have been involved in a variety of language contact situations. In cases of occasional contacts, polysynthetic languages have been simplified, both by learners (approximate varieties) and native speakers (foreigner talk). Such simplified versions can be the source also of a number of pidgins based on polysynthetic languages. Those pidgins did not inherit the morphological complexity of the source languages, but instead use pronouns for person marking and largely analytic structures. Sometimes unanalyzed complex verbs are used, where the original meaning of the affixes does not play a role. The widespread idea that polysynthetic languages do not display lexical borrowings, but use internal word-building devices instead, should be qualified: loanwords are quite common in polysynthetic languages. In codeswitching, verbs stems rarely combine with foreign elements. Borrowing of pattern is more common than borrowing of matter, and areal diffusion of grammatical traits may lead to the proliferation of polysynthesis.