Abstract and Keywords
The defining role played by language contact in historical change has long been appreciated, particularly in comparative sociolinguistics and in the study of lexical borrowing as well as through the process of pidginization and the emergence of creoles. In sound systems, it is also understood that one language can exert influence on another, as inferred, for example, with respect to the history of Dutch in its shift from a Germanic-type system contrasting voiceless aspirated stops with weakly voiced ones over to a Romance-type contrasting voiceless unaspirated stops with prominently voiced ones. Modern work in second language acquisition reveals just how the learning of a second language can precipitate phonetic changes in a speaker’s native language, e.g., shifted voice-onset-time values in Dutch that is influenced by English, or in English that is influenced by Korean or French. At the phonemic level, borrowed pronunciations may induce allophonic splits, as in the familiar separation of voiced and voiceless fricative allophones in the history of French-influenced English, allowing now veal alongside fox. In other cases, the split of native language allophones into independent phonemes is progressive, leaving subtle traces to be uncovered in analysis of the patterns of second language phonology. Thus, differences in the staged acquisition of the English /s/—/ʃ/ contrast by native speakers of Korean versus Japanese, both of whom deflect [s] in favour of [ʃ] before the vowel [i], emerges in proportion to the degree that [ʃ] occurs natively in other contexts. Viewed as change in grammatical states, this ‘interlanguage’ understanding of second language acquisition both parallels and informs the process of historical change in phonology.
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