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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Language contact outcomes as the result of bilingual optimization strategies
Author: Pieter C. Muysken
Institution: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: This paper sketches a comprehensive framework for modeling and interpreting language contact phenomena, with speakers’ bilingual strategies in specific scenarios of language contact as its point of departure. Bilingual strategies are conditioned by social factors, processing constraints of speakers’ bilingual competence, and perceived language distance. In a number of domains of language contact studies important progress has been made, including Creole studies, code-switching, language development, linguistic borrowing, and areal convergence. Less attention has been paid to the links between these fields, so that results in one domain can be compared with those in another. These links are approached here from the perspective of speaker optimization strategies. Four strategies are proposed: maximize structural coherence of the first language (L1); maximize structural coherence of the second language (L2); match between L1 and L2 patterns where possible; and rely on universal principles of language processing. These strategies can be invoked to explain outcomes of language contact. Different outcomes correspond to different interactions of these strategies in bilingual speakers and their communities.


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 16, Issue 4.

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