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Academic Paper

Title: In search of a unified model of language contact
Author: Donald Winford
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Ohio State University
Linguistic Field: Psycholinguistics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Much previous research has pointed to the need for a unified framework for language contact phenomena – one that would include social factors and motivations, structural factors and linguistic constraints, and psycholinguistic factors involved in processes of language processing and production. While Contact Linguistics has devoted a great deal of attention to the structural properties of contact phenomena and their sources in the input languages, the field has made much less progress in attending to Weinreich's observation that language contact can best be understood only “in a broad psychological and socio-cultural setting” (Weinreich, 1953, p. 4). There have been some attempts to establish links between the disciplines that investigate language contact, for example, the psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic (Walters, 2005), and the linguistic and psycholinguistic (Myers-Scotton 2002, Winford 2009, among others). Yet, so far, no one has come close to achieving the kind of integrative, multi-disciplinary framework that Weinreich envisaged. Muysken's paper is therefore a welcome reminder of the need for such a framework, and the complexity of the task involved in constructing it, if indeed it can be accomplished. The introduction to the paper outlines a very ambitious objective – “to explore the possibility of unifying these fields, all different approaches to language contact, creating a single framework within which it is possible to link results from different subfields” (Section 1.1).


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 16, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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