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Encyclopedia > Language contact

Language contact occurs when speakers of distinct speech varieties interact. The study of language contact is called contact linguistics.


Contrary to popular opinion[citation needed], multilingualism has been common throughout much of human history. Even in hunter-gatherer times, to judge by recent parallels, multilingualism was not uncommon, as bands would need to communicate with neighboring peoples, who often spoke differing languages. And in present-day areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where there is much variation in language over even short distances, it is usual for anyone who has dealings outside his own town or village to know two or more languages, as it must have been in early times when almost all languages were spoken in a small territory. Thus, language contact is a very common phenomenon in human history, and the world's present vast linguistic diversity has developed in the presence of this constant contact. Bilingual redirects here. ... In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ... A political map showing national divisions in relation to the ecological break (Sub-Saharan Africa in green) A geographical map of Africa, showing the ecological break that defines the sub-Saharan area Sub-Saharan Africa is the term used to describe the area of the African continent which lies south... History is often used as a generic term for information about the past, such as in geologic history of the Earth. When used as the name of a field of study, history refers to the study and interpretation of the record of human societies. ...


When speakers of different languages interact closely, it is typical for their languages to influence each other. Languages normally develop by gradually accumulating internal differences until one parent language splits into daughter languages. This is analogous to asexual reproduction in biology. Change due to language contact, in this analogy, is akin to the recombination that happens when separate organisms exchange genetic material. It has been suggested that Parthenogenesis be merged into this article or section. ... Biology studies the variety of life (clockwise from top-left) E. coli, tree fern, gazelle, Goliath beetle Biology (from Greek: βίος, bio, life; and λόγος, logos, knowledge), also referred to as the biological sciences, is the study of living organisms utilizing the scientific method. ... Recombination usually refers to the biological process of genetic recombination and meiosis, a genetic event that occurs during the formation of sperm and egg cells. ...

Contents

Forms of influence of one language on another

Borrowing of vocabulary

The most common way that languages influence each other is the exchange of words. Much is made about the contemporary borrowing of English words into other languages, but this phenomenon is not new, nor is it even very large by historical standards. The large-scale importation of words from Latin, French and other languages into English in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was more significant. Some languages have borrowed so much that they have become scarcely recognizable. Armenian borrowed so many words from Iranian languages, for example, that it was at first considered a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, and was not recognized as an independent branch of the Indo-European languages for many decades.[citation needed] The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... The Iranian languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family. ... The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. ... For other uses, see Indo-European. ...


Borrowing of other language features

The influence can go deeper, extending to the exchange of even basic characteristics of a language such as morphology and grammar. Nepal Bhasa, for example, spoken in Nepal, is a Sino-Tibetan language distantly related to Chinese, but has had so many centuries of contact with neighboring Indo-Iranian languages that it has even developed noun inflection, a trait typical of the Indo-European family but rare in Sino-Tibetan. It has absorbed features of grammar as well, such as verb tenses. Romanian was influenced by the Slavic languages spoken by neighboring tribes in the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, not only in vocabulary but also in phonology and morphology. It is easy to see how a word can diffuse from one language to another, but not as obvious how more basic features can do the same; nevertheless, this phenomenon is not rare. For other uses, see Morphology. ... For the rules of English grammar, see English grammar and Disputes in English grammar. ... “Newari” redirects here. ... Sino-Tibetan languages form a language family of about 250 languages of East Asia, in number of speakers worldwide second only to Indo-European. ... The Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. ... Inflection of the Spanish lexeme for cat, with blue representing the masculine gender, pink representing the feminine gender, grey representing the form used for mixed-gender, and green representing the plural number. ... For other uses, see Indo-European. ...  Countries where a West Slavic language is the national language  Countries where an East Slavic language is the national language  Countries where a South Slavic language is the national language The Slavic languages (also called Slavonic languages), a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup... For other uses, see Roman Empire (disambiguation). ... Phonology (Greek phonÄ“ = voice/sound and logos = word/speech), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language (or languages). ...


Language shift

The result of the contact of two languages can be the replacement of one by the other. This is most common when one language has a higher social position. This sometimes leads to language endangerment or extinction. It has been suggested that Moribund language be merged into this article or section. ...


Substratal influence

However, when language shift occurs, the language that is replaced (known as the substratum) can leave a profound impression on the replacing language (known as the superstratum), when people retain features of the substratum as they learn the new language and pass these features on to their children, leading to the development of a new variety. For example, the Latin that came to replace local languages in present-day France during Roman times was influenced by Gaulish and Germanic. The distinct pronunciation of the dialect of English spoken in Ireland comes partially from the influence of the substratum of Irish. Outside the Indo-European phylum, Coptic, the last stage of ancient Egyptian, is a substratum of Egyptian Arabic. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A superstratum or superstrate is the counterpart to a substratum. ... Language transfer (also known as L1 interference, linguistic interference, cross-linguistic interference or interference) is the effect of a speaker or writers first language (L1) on the production or perception of his or her second language (L2). ... For other uses, see Roman Empire (disambiguation). ... Gaulish is name given to the now-extinct Celtic language that was spoken in Gaul before the Romans, the Franks and the British Celts invaded. ... Hiberno-English — known more commonly as Irish English — is spoken in Ireland and is the result of the interaction of the English and Irish languages. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... For other uses, see Indo-European. ... The Coptic language is a direct descendant of the ancient Egyptian language which was once written in Egyptian hieroglyphic, hieratic, and demotic scripts. ... Egyptian Arabic (Marī مصري) is part of the Arabic macrolanguage of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. ...


Creation of new languages: Creolization and mixed languages

Language contact can also lead to the development of new languages when people without a common language interact closely, developing a pidgin, which may eventually become a full-fledged creole language through the process of creolization. A prime example of this is Saramaccan, spoken in Suriname, which has vocabulary mainly from English and Dutch, but phonology and even tones which are closer to African languages. This article is about simplified languages. ... A creole language, or simply a creole, is a stable language that originates seemingly as a new language, sometimes with features that are not inherited from any apparent source, without however qualifying in any appreciable way as a mixed language. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Creole language. ... Saramaccan (autonym: Saamáka) is a creole spoken by about 24,000 people near the Saramaccan and upper Suriname Rivers in Suriname, and 2,000 in French Guiana. ...


A much rarer but still observed process is the formation of mixed languages. Whereas creoles are formed by communities lacking a common language, mixed languages are formed by communities fluent in both languages. They tend to inherit much more of the complexity (grammatical, phonological, etc.) of their parent languages, whereas creoles begin as simple languages and then develop in complexity more independently. It is sometimes explained as bilingual communities that no longer identify with the cultures of either of the languages they speak, and seek to develop their own language as an expression of their own cultural uniqueness. A mixed language is a language that arises when two languages are in contact and there is a high degree of bilingualism among speakers. ...


Mutual and non-mutual influence

Change as a result of contact is often one-sided. Chinese, for instance, has had a profound effect on the development of Japanese, but the Chinese language remains relatively free of Japanese influence, other than some modern terms that were reborrowed after having been coined in Japan. In India, Hindi and other native languages have been influenced by English up to the extent that loan words from English are part of day to day vocabulary. In some cases, language contact may lead to mutual exchange, although this exchange may be confined to a particular geographic region. For example, in Switzerland, the local French has been influenced by German, and vice-versa. In Scotland, the Scots language has been heavily influenced by English, and many Scots terms have been adopted into the regional English dialect. Hindi (हिन्दी) is a language spoken mainly in North and Central India. ... This article is about the country. ... Scots refers to the Anglic varieties spoken in parts of Scotland. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...


Linguistic hegemony

Obviously, a language's influence widens as its speakers grow in power. Chinese, Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Russian, and English have each seen periods of widespread importance, and have had varying degrees of influence on the native languages spoken in the areas in which they have held sway. For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... Arabic redirects here. ... “Farsi” redirects here. ... The Sanskrit language ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...


Dialectal and sub-cultural change

Some forms of language contact affect only a particular segment of a speech community. Consequently, change may be manifested only in particular dialects, jargons, or registers. The South African dialect of English has been significantly affected by Afrikaans, in terms of lexis and pronunciation, but English as a whole has remained almost totally unaffected by Afrikaans. In some cases, a language develops an acrolect which contains elements of a more prestigious language. For example, in England during a large part of the Medieval period, upper-class speech was dramatically influenced by French, to the point that it often resembled a French dialect. The same situation existed in Tsarist Russia, where the native Russian language was widedly disparaged as barbaric and uncultured. A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος) is a variant, or variety, of a language spoken in a certain geographical area. ... For the glossary of hacker slang, see Jargon File. ... In linguistics, a register is a subset of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Look up Wiktionary:Swadesh lists for Afrikaans and Dutch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In linguistics, the lexis of a language is the entire store of its lexical items. ... Look up pronunciation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... An acrolect is a register of a spoken language that is considered formal and high-style. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Росси́йская Импе́рия, (also Imperial Russia) covers the period of Russian history from the expansion of Russia under Peter the Great into the Russian Empire stretching from the Baltic to the Pacific Ocean, to... Russian ( , transliteration: , ) is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. ...


Sign languages

Main article: Contact Sign

Language contact is extremely common in most deaf communities, which are almost always located within a dominant spoken language culture. It can also take place between two or more sign languages, in which case the expected contact phenomena occur — lexical borrowing, foreign "accent," interference, code switching, pidgins, creoles, and mixed systems. However, between a sign language and a spoken language, while lexical borrowing and code switching also occur, the interface between the spoken and signed modes produces unique phenomena: fingerspelling, fingerspelling/sign combination, initalisation, CODA talk, TTY conversation, mouthing and contact signing.-1... This article needs to be wikified. ... Spoken language is a language that people utter words of the language. ... A one hand alphabet in general use, as published in the American Annals of the Deaf and Dumb, 1886. ... Logo for the organization CODA International In Deaf culture, a child of Deaf adult (or simply CODA) is a hearing person who was raised by a Deaf parent or guardian. ... A telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) is an electronic device for text communication via a telephone line, used when one or more of the parties has hearing or speech difficulties. ... Contact Sign is a contact language that arises between a Deaf sign language and a spoken language (or the written or Manually Coded form of the spoken language). ...


See also

Language transfer (also known as L1 interference, linguistic interference, cross-linguistic interference or interference) is the effect of a speaker or writers first language (L1) on the production or perception of his or her second language (L2). ... Code-switching is a term in linguistics referring to alternation between one or more languages, dialects, or language registers in the course of discourse between people who have more than one language in common. ... This article is about simplified languages. ... A creole language, or simply a creole, is a stable language that originates seemingly as a new language, sometimes with features that are not inherited from any apparent source, without however qualifying in any appreciable way as a mixed language. ... A mixed language is a language that arises when speakers of different languages are in contact and show a high degree of bilingualism. ... // In linguistics, a calque (pronounced ) or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word (Latin: verbum pro verbo) or root-for-root translation. ... A loanword (or loan word) is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. ... Metatypy (stress on second syllable: metátypy) is a type of morphosyntactic and semantic language change brought about by language contact involving multilingual speakers. ... A phase that happens to native languages in a peripheral, especially colonial society that emerge from the previous dominance of a high language imposed by the center. ... A Sprachbund (German for language bond, also known as a linguistic area, convergence area, diffusion area) is a group of languages that have become similar in some way because of geographical proximity. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

References

  • Sarah Thomason and Terrence Kaufman, Language Contact, Creolization and Genetic Linguistics (University of California Press 1988).
  • Sarah Thomason, Language Contact - An Introduction (Edinburgh University Press 2001).
  • Uriel Weinreich, Languages in Contact (Mouton 1963).
  • Donald Winford, An Introduction to Contact Linguistics (Blackwell 2002) ISBN 0-631-21251-5.
  • Јован Ајдуковић (Jovan Ajdukovic), Увод у лексичку контактологију. Теорија адаптације русизама // An Introduction to Lexical Contact: The Theory of the Adaptation of Russisms In South and West Slavic Languages. Београд: Фото Футура, 2004, 364 стр. ISBN 86-83691-06-3 .(Online Abstract) (English) (Contents) (Serbian)
  • Йован Айдукович (Jovan Ajdukovic), "Основные понятия лексической контактологии" // On Basic Concepts in Lexical Contact, In: Тезисы и доклады, II Международный конгресс исследователей русского языка: Русский язык: исторические судьбы и современность. Москва: 2004: 445. (Тезисы) (Russian)
  • Йован Айдукович (Jovan Ajdukovic), "Структура и основное содержание монографии 'Введение во фразеологическую контактологию. Теория адаптации фразеологических русизмов'", // The Basic Content of the Monograph 'An Introduction to Phraseological Contact: The Theory of the Adaptation of Phraseological Russisms, Studia Russica, Budapest, 2007. (Online) (Russian)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Language contact - definition of Language contact in Encyclopedia (444 words)
language death, language suicide, the development of creoles, and even, according to some linguists, the phenomenon of language merger.
For example, contact between speakers of Latin with the speakers of indigenous European languages (such as Gaulish and Germanic, among others) gave rise to such languages as French, Spanish, and Romanian.
In some cases, language contact may lead to mutual exchange, although this exchange may be confined to a particular geographic region.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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