Bernd Heine and Tania Kuteva
This article describes the areal dimension of grammaticalisation resulting from language contact. It shows that grammaticalisation is a ubiquitous process in language contact which may affect any part of language structure and exhibits the same format in all of its manifestations. It provides some examples of how languages have been influenced by other languages in developing new grammatical use patterns and categories. It investigates how grammaticalisation leads to a real relationship among languages by highlighting the notion of grammaticalization area.
Language contact has long been the subject of extensive research in linguistics, but has recently been the object of increased attention by scholars working on both the history of English and varieties of English worldwide. Most language contact studies that have appeared in recent years rely on databases that differ from those typically used in histories of the English language. Assuming that code-switching refers to instances where bilingual speakers alternate between codes within the same speech event, this process can be hypothesized to be the source of borrowing when the code-switching occurs repeatedly with the same lexical items or sentence structures such that these are no longer felt to be foreign in the receiving code. Both the degree of bilingualism necessary for code-switching and the number of individuals who engage in code-switching are a matter of debate. This article discusses language contact, language ecology, and grammaticalization.
Edgar W. Schneider
Over the past few hundred years, and for the last few decades in particular, English has come into contact with a wide range of different languages across the globe due to colonial expansion and globalization. These contacts have given rise to a range of new varieties, both so-called “New Englishes” and pidgins and creoles, thus radically altering the evolutionary trajectory of English and emphasizing the need to rethink aspects of its history. This article explores the global spread of the English language, specifically from the perspective of language contact conditions. It discusses social, structural and theoretical aspects of the developments that have contributed to the emergence of new forms of English. Many of these phenomena date back to colonial history and Britain’s colonial expansion from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. The article also explores the structural consequences of contact, along with the modeling of contact phenomena in the emergence of new varieties of English.
This article examines Celtic influence on early Old English, an issue that has recently been debated in detail, and re-examines arguments presented in studies of language contact and change. Scholars argue that Brythonic, the language spoken in England by the Celts at the time of the Germanic invasions, had a significant effect on the development of English. This is known as the Celtic hypothesis. The standard wisdom on contact and transfer has been based on the notion that the language with more status influences that with less. In other words, borrowing is from the superstrate into the substrate, as seen with Latin and French borrowings into English. However, this is a simplistic view of possible influence in a contact scenario. Vocabulary, as an open class with a high degree of awareness by speakers, is the primary source of borrowing from the superstrate. However, borrowing from closed classes in language, chiefly phonology and syntax, often characterises influence of a substrate on a superstrate. A number of key phenomena are considered in this light and reassessed in terms of possible origin.
Gerard Van Herk
This chapter situates the English Origins Hypothesis within academic and public discourses on language, ethnicity, and contact, suggesting that these may have influenced responses to the hypothesis. The chapter outlines the methodological preferences of many scholars working in this framework (quantitative analysis of the linguistic constraints on mostly morphosyntactic variation) and describes major findings for verb morphology, question formation, negation, and relativization. In each case, researchers have found strong similarities between the linguistic conditioning of variables in diverse instantiations of earlier African American English (AAE) and in English dialects that may have served as a model for early generations of AAE speakers. After enumerating and evaluating some critiques of the hypothesis, the chapter considers the utility, applications, and limitations of this and competing hypotheses, briefly discusses the relevance to the origins debate of internal regional variation in AAE, and concludes by proposing areas of potential agreement between origins hypotheses.
This article examines the relation between language contact and grammaticalisation. It argues that the notion of contact-driven grammaticalisation represents an attempt to address these questions within the framework of an overall theory of grammaticalisation. It discusses the key stages in the development of the discussion on contact-induced grammaticalisation and the questions it addresses. It explains that contact-induced language change is often regarded as an external factor that motivates change, for it derives from outside the linguistic system that is under scrutiny.
This article discusses the role of dialect contact in phonological change, i.e. when varieties of a language are transplanted to colonial settings. Focus is given to both the conditions that favour phonological change and the eventual outcomes of koinéization (mixing, levelling, reallocation, etc.), illustrated with examples from English around the world.
Scholars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, most of whom were interested in lexical differences between Old English (OE) and later stages of the language, had made a twofold distinction between “Saxon” (consisting of OE and early Middle English) and “English” (which covers later Middle English and Modern English). This distinction, which can be related to language contact in a straightforward manner, reflects the marked lexical influence of French as a consequence of the Norman conquest and the eventual adoption of the English language by the French-speaking ruling classes. Old English differs from continental Old Saxon in a number of non-trivial ways. Some of these differences are mostly structural ones and can be attributed to the substratal influence of Insular Celtic. Other differences, mainly lexical ones, can be explained by Old Norse influence. This article shows that the lexical influences of Old Norse were essentially similar to the later influences of Old French, namely superstratal. Therefore, the French-dominated later period of English appears to have been preceded by a Scandinavian period.
This chapter looks at processes operating in loanword adaptation. Starting out with a typology of adaptations, looking at what we know empirically about how loanwords are adapted to the phonological system of the borrowing language, this chapter then examines the central controversy surrounding loanword adaptation, whether adaptations are based on phonological equivalence or on phonetic/perceptual similarity. Data from a range of languages show that no explanation alone is sufficient. I therefore present a novel proposal, which first of all redefines the idea of phonological adaptations as equivalences based on contrast and opposition, and which secondly adds a sociolinguistic perspective to the psycholinguistic perspective that is standardly assumed. Rather than seeing individual speakers as the main locus of adaptation, I argue that loanwords are adapted by the speech community, with the consequence that there will be variation and effects of conventionalization, plus the possibility of different outcomes depending on the contact situation, with some situations inviting perceptual adaptations more than others.
Samuel Andersson, Oliver Sayeed, and Bert Vaux
This chapter surveys the impact of language contact on phonological systems. The phonology of one language may influence that of another in several ways, including lexical borrowing, rule borrowing, Sprachbund features, and interlanguage effects. Illustrations of these phenomena are drawn from interactions between English and French, Hawaiian, and Japanese at different historical periods; from Quichean languages; from Slavic-influenced dialects of Albanian; from Dravidian influences on Sanskrit; and from South African English, among other examples. The evidence indicates that language contact may lead to various changes in phoneme inventory, phonotactics, and rule inventory, or to no change at all. Analyses of the data argue against the view that language contact invariably involves simplification but suggest that markedness is an important notion in accounting for certain features of interlanguages.
English colonial expansion and pursuit of trade during the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries gave rise to a wide array of colonial Englishes, among them the pidgin and creole varieties that arose in the plantation colonies of the Atlantic and Pacific. This article examines the processes of change that produced these pidgins and creoles, and what they imply for the place of these languages in the history of English, and for their genetic relationship to their lexifier language. It argues that the processes of change that led both pidgins and creoles were not that different from those which have affected most languages, including English, at one time or another. Such changes include simplification, admixture, and both internally and externally-motivated grammaticalization. Since pidgins and creoles only carry further the same tendencies that have operated in the history of English and other languages, it seems odd to deny them status as continuations of their lexifiers, while granting such status to other colonial Englishes.
The combination of in-depth molecular anthropological analyses and linguistic investigations exhibits some of the factors involved in the prehistoric language contact. The two parts of the human genome that are studied most widely in molecular anthropology, due to their very specific mode of inheritance, include mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the Y-chromosome. MtDNA is a small circular molecule that exists in large copy numbers in special little organelles in the cell called mitochondria. Its special advantage in molecular anthropological studies lies in the fact that it is inherited solely in the maternal line. The Y-chromosome, on the other hand, is one of two sex chromosomes found in the human genome, with the X-chromosome being its counterpart. Molecular anthropological analyses can provide indications of prehistoric admixture events, sex-biased migration patterns, decreases or increases of population size, and settlement practices. These results allow insights into prehistoric sociocultural practices that may have had an effect on language change in contact situations. The detection of prehistoric language shift is significantly important in the study of language contact. The language shift can result in a mismatch between the genetic and linguistic affiliation of a group, which can be detected with genetic methods. The linguistic investigations of languages, which can be shown genetically to have been the target of a language shift, can provide evidence for what linguistic changes, if any, such a shift produces.