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Conference Information

Full Title: Differential Object Marking and Language Contact

Location: Paris, France
Start Date: 05-Dec-2014 - 06-Dec-2014
Contact: Alexandru Mardale
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Differential Object Marking and Language Contact
International workshop of the Unity and diversity in Differential Object Marking research program sponsored by the Federation for Typology and Linguistic Universals, CNRS

INaLCO, Paris, 5-6 December 2014

Differential object marking (DOM) is now a well-known and well-described phenomenon (Comrie 1979, Bossong 1985, 1998, Croft 1998, Lazard 1994, 2011, Dalrymple & Nikolaeva 2011, Iemmolo 2011). Research over the past twenty years has allowed us to grasp the key parameters at work (Hopper & Thompson 1980, Laca 2002, 2006, Aissen 2003, Leonetti 2003, 2007, Næss 2004, von Heusinger & Kaiser 2005, de Hoop & de Swart 2007). This research has also contributed to a more fine-grained presentation of the phenomenon in a number of languages, in synchrony and, for some cases, in diachrony.

On the other hand, the role of language contact in the emergence, development and attrition of a DOM system has been the object of less attention. Still, in a language contact setting where at least one of the two languages has DOM, there are at least two scenarios to be considered:

a) In the first one, which we could call symmetrical, both languages have their own DOM conditioned by factors which may or may not differ. It would be interesting to study the parallel evolution of each of the two systems and try to determine the role played by contact.

b) In the second one, which we could call asymmetrical, only one of the two languages has a pre-existing DOM system, while the other one shows only sporadic examples of DOM which point to an influence from the language with fully-fledged DOM. We could be dealing either with a case of pattern-replication or with a case of matter-replication (in the sense of Matras & Sake 2007) : The (formerly) DOM-less language could either start replicating the fully-fledged DOM system by copying just the overall pattern or it could additionally borrow the DOM marker from the DOM language. And finally, the DOM-less language could also bring about the attrition and eventual demise of the system in the DOM language.

It is of course not always easy to decide whether we are dealing with a symmetrical or an asymmetrical contact scenario, and one could even wonder to what extent contact can be construed as the only, or at least, the key factor in the emergence of a DOM system. We could indeed also imagine cases where two languages in contact acquired their DOM system independently from each other. Still, further contact between them arguably plays a decisive role in the development and demise of their respective DOM systems.

Invited Speakers: TBA
Linguistic Subfield: General Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Morphology; Syntax
LL Issue: 25.2387

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