The present article poses some fundamental questions related to bilingualism and to the acquisition of two phonological components, by very young children. It discusses different types of bilingualism and their outcomes. After a brief consideration of alleged pros and cons of bilingualism brought up in the past decades, two perspectives of bilingualism are sketched—psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic—and certain aspects of bilingual child phonology are presented from each of these points of view. The essential issue is whether different outcomes of bilingual child phonology are predictable, and to find the crucial criteria to support the predictions. Finally, the discussion addresses some basic questions about bilingual acquisition, and ends with a summary of various types of cross-linguistic interaction.
John R. Rickford
The creolist hypothesis goes back at least to 1964 when Bill Stewart and Beryl Bailey expressed the view that African American Vernacular English (AAVE) descended from a widespread full creole. Modern creolists do not support the idea of a widespread full creole in earlier times but speak instead of creole influences on AAVE. Six main kinds of evidence are relevant, but three are considered here: sociohistorical conditions, differences from English dialects, and similarities to known creoles. Next, I turn to AAVE copula absence, noting that this feature is rare or non-existent in British dialects but similar to Caribbean and other Anglophone creoles in its following grammatical conditioning. Finally, I emphasize the need for new research on copula absence in southern areas where little or no variationist research has been done, and for sociohistorical research on the language, culture and interactions of Blacks and Whites from the seventeenth century on.
The focus of this article is the ecology of languages. The first use of the ecology metaphor in linguistics is found in a paper by Voegelin and Schutz on language varieties, where a distinction between intralanguage and interlanguage ecology is drawn. The metaphor was introduced in Haugen's paper, titled “The Ecology of Language”, in which he defines it as “the study of interactions between any given language and its environment”. Characteristic of much earlier work on language ecology is the dominance of the “struggle for existence” metaphor. The theme of a metaphorical struggle for existence has attracted the attention of creolists, as pidgin and creole languages are the result of imposing their patterns of communication onto colonized language communities. The linguistics ecology has become highly disturbed in the last 200 years, mainly as a result of European expansion with the consequent restriction and destruction of the habitats of the majority of the world's linguistic ecologies.
The Emergence of African American English: Monogenetic or Polygenetic? With or Without “Decreolization”? Under How Much Substrate Influence?
Salikoko S. Mufwene
African American English is used in this chapter as an umbrella term for Gullah and African American Vernacular English (AAVE) to underscore structural features they share as a consequence of being lexified by colonial nonstandard English under the influence of similar African substrate languages. Gullah and AAVE appear to have evolved separately and concurrently: the former is a byproduct of rice cultivation in coastal South Carolina and Georgia, whereas the latter emerged on tobacco and cotton plantations of the Southeast and spread to other parts of the USA with the Great Migration. Having the same origins as American Southern English, AAVE appears to have been fostered as an ethnolect by Jim Crow. The evidence adduced for the creole-origins hypothesis is questionable, just as the English-origins hypothesis is too strong. The ecological account provided here confirms that all evolution is local, driven by local ecological factors.
Peter Hans Nelde
This article focuses on the ideas of multilingualism and language contact against the backdrop of applied linguistics. In the last four decades, scientific research on multilingualism has experienced numerous stimuli, the majority of which can be attributed to language contact research in the Weinreich tradition, going back to his famous Languages in Contact. Although multilingualism and language contact between individuals and groups are age old, language contact research first obtained a secure position in applied linguistics in the 1970s through the development of the social sciences. The great significance of multilingualism in the future of Europe and North America and its greater importance in many other parts of the world led to an interdisciplinary interest in contact linguistics. As an interdisciplinary branch of multilingual research, contact linguistics incorporates three areas of inquiry: language use, language user, and language sphere. This article explains the field of contact linguistics along with its significant parameters.
Sarah G. Thomason
Language endangerment almost always involves language contact, but language contact does not always lead to endangerment: safe language contact features balanced bilingualism, and unsafe language contact features transitional bilingualism. In safe contact situations, neither of the languages in contact is likely to disappear unless and until the circumstances that make the situation safe change dramatically. In unsafe contact situations, by contrast, one of the languages is likely to disappear. Finally, attrition in endangered languages is compared with contact-induced change in non-endangered languages: individual changes do not differ significantly in the two processes, but only attrition leads to overall impoverishment of lexicon and structure.
Tim William Machan
Thinking and talking about language contact in the abstract, especially in the case of the Middle Ages, offers limited evidence. Although large sociolinguistic generalizations have the potential to influence speakers in individual interactions, such generalizations are produced by specific domains that are often bypassed in conventional histories of the language. For the English later Middle Ages, these domains included the domestic, the social, and the political. Throughout the period, merchants introduced goods and services from across Western Europe, bringing with them, particularly to port cities and major trading centers, their languages. Within the context of late-medieval England’s diglossia, English, Latin, and French all helped maintain stable social institutions and point to little inter-language conflict. Beginning with the Norman Conquest, English politics was likewise a stable multilingual matter, involving Latin, Italian, Dutch, and (especially) French.
Kelleen Toohey and Bonny Norton
This article briefly reviews an increasingly large body of research that seeks to understand the relationship between language-learner identities and their sociocultural worlds. Rather than seeing learner identities as developed individually and as expressive of the essence of individuals, current identity theorists have argued that identities are complex, multilayered, often hybrid, sometimes imagined, and developed through activity by and for individuals in many social fields. This complex notion of selves has been accompanied by a great deal of recent research on language and learning, drawing primarily on postmodern and poststructuralist theories. It begins with a consideration of current understandings of these fundamental concepts, and then reviews some of the foundational studies, before focusing on more recent research on identity and language learning. This is an exciting field that is stimulating many researchers and much debate. It is being informed in diverse ways by work in anthropology, sociology, postcolonial and cultural studies, and education.
The study of language, its spread in the twenty-first century is the nucleus of this article. Language spread is, according to Cooper, “an increase, over time, in the proportion of a communication network that adopts a given language or language variety for a given communicative function”. It is generally taken for granted that language, as a concomitant of culture, can spread. Schoolchildren learn of the spread of Greek culture and language throughout the Mediterranean world, of the spread of Roman influence and Latin throughout the Roman Empire, and of the spread of Islam as a new world religion that accompanied the spread of the language of the Koran, Arabic. The ecology of languages paradigm, on the other hand, includes factors that emphasize the sustainability of language diversity and multilingualism, and the equality of languages—factors associated with the third period. This article synthesizes language spread, focusing on the defining characteristics of this field of study.
The Luwian language belongs to the Luwic subgroup of the Indo-European Anatolian languages and is a close relative of Hittite. It was used for writing in the Empire of Hattusa and the Neo-Hittite states, which arose after its collapse (appr. 1400-700 BC). It is recorded in two scripts: an adaptation of Mesopotamian cuneiform and Anatolian hieroglyphs. The goal of this article is to provide a concise description of the Luwian language. It contains both information on its structure, with an emphasis on phonology and morphology, and sociolinguistic data. The grammatical description is predominantly synchronic, but historical and comparative information is occasionally introduced if it has a potential to clarify the synchronic state of affairs.
It is now widely accepted that most of the grammar of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) derives from English dialectal sources—in particular, the settler dialects introduced into the American South during the 17th and 18th centuries. The roots of AAVE were established during the first century of the British colonization of America, in the Chesapeake Bay area (Virginia and Maryland), and later, in the Carolinas and Georgia. The socio-historical evidence suggests that conditions in most of the South were favorable for Blacks to acquire relatively close approximations of the dialects spoken by White settlers, particularly indentured servants. Since Blacks were exposed to a variety of British English dialects and shaped by influence from African languages and possibly also from creole varieties introduced by slaves brought from the Caribbean, AAVE evolved against a background of continuing language contact.
Pidgins and creoles are the focus of this article. Pidgins and creoles are new languages that develop in language contact situations because of a need for communication among people who do not share a common language. A pidgin continues to be used primarily as a second language for intergroup communication, whereas a creole has become the mother tongue of a particular group of speakers. The lexicon of a pidgin or creole is derived from the various languages originally in contact, with the majority usually coming from one particular language, called the lexifier. However, the grammar of a pidgin or creole is different from that of the lexifier or any of the other contributing languages. Most scholars in this field would agree on these characterizations. This article outlines them briefly here. Then it presents some sociolinguistic background information on speakers, status, and attitudes. Finally, it discusses some areas of applied linguistics that concern pidgins and creoles.
This chapter offers an overview of the controversies surrounding the study of creole syntax while evaluating representative studies. This overview includes proposals that cast creoles as a “type” of languages, proposals that view creoles as interlanguages and resulting from second language acquisition, and proposals that consider them as hybrid grammars yielding innovative feature recombinations due to language contact. It also discusses the benefits of the Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Structures, as it lays out a promising new direction in the investigation of pidgins and creoles by offering systematic comparisons of a large sample of creoles and their source languages. This collaborative Atlas provides broad empirical coverage, testing the hypotheses reflected by the various positions and schools of thought discussed in this chapter while unveiling the rich diversity of creole syntactic features.