Note: This is the paperback edition of a previously announced title.
Languages can be similar in many ways - they can resemble each other in
categories, constructions and meanings, and in the actual forms used to
express these. A shared feature may be based on common genetic origin, or
result from geographic proximity and borrowing. Some aspects of grammar are
spread more readily than others. The question is - which are they? When
languages are in contact with each other, what changes do we expect to
occur in their grammatical structures? Only an inductively based
cross-linguistic examination can provide an answer. This is what this
volume is about.
The book starts with a typological introduction outlining principles of
contact-induced change and factors which facilitate diffusion of linguistic
traits. It is followed by twelve studies of contact-induced changes in
languages from Amazonia, East and West Africa, Australia, East Timor, and
the Sinitic domain. Set alongside these are studies of Pennsylvania German
spoken by Mennonites in Canada in contact with English, Basque in contact
with Romance languages in Spain and France, and language contact in the
Balkans. All the studies are based on intensive fieldwork, and each cast in
terms of the typological parameters set out in the introduction. The book
includes a glossary to facilitate its use by graduates and advanced
undergraduates in linguistics and in disciplines such as anthropology.