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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Title: Typological and social constraints on language contact
Subtitle: Amerindian languages in contact with Spanish
Written By: Jorge Gómez Rendón
Series Title: LOT Dissertation Series 188

This study investigates the influence of social and linguistic constraints
on language contact through the analysis of linguistic borrowing from
Spanish in three indigenous languages of the Americas (Ecuadorian Quechua,
Paraguayan Guaraní and Mexican Otomí). An extensive corpus for each
language was collected and processed in search of loanwords and function
words from Spanish. The analysis of the corpora was developed in the
framework of the parts-of-speech theory and linguistic typology. In this
way the study meets the requirements of a solid empirical foundation and a
theory-driven approach.

After an evaluation of the fundamental concepts of language contact, the
author proposes a multi-level model of causation to explain contact-induced
language change, in which linguistic and nonlinguistic factors interact
with each other. The model serves as a point of departure to explain the
interplay of social and linguistic constraints on borrowing. To support the
language specific analysis, an extensive description of the recipient
languages is provided in terms of their historical development,
sociolinguistic situation, dialectal variation and typological profile.

The study confirms the dynamic nature of the causation model of contact
induced language change and the need to include specific typological,
sociolinguistic and historical criteria in any evaluation of scales of
borrowing and hierarchies of borrowability. Still, the major finding of the
study is that not everything goes in linguistic borrowing: the outcomes are
determined by the structural limits of the recipient languages and the
resistance of basic typological parameters to change in contact situations.

The study provides a new insight into the relation between linguistic
borrowing, language typology and bilingualism, and therefore is of interest
to typologists, sociolinguists, psycholinguists and those students of
language contact and Amerindian languages.

Publication Year: 2008
Publisher: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)
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BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language(s): Spanish
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Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9789078328629
Pages: 555
Prices: Europe EURO 38.00