LINGUIST List 24.613

Sat Feb 02 2013

Review: Morphology; Ling. Theories: Vanhove et al. (2012)

Editor for this issue: Joseph Salmons <>

Date: 31-Dec-2012
From: Christopher Batteen <>
Subject: Morphologies in Contact
E-mail this message to a friend

Discuss this message

Book announced at

EDITOR: Martine VanhoveEDITOR: Thomas StolzEDITOR: Aina S. UrdzeEDITOR: Hitomi OtsukaTITLE: Morphologies in ContactSERIES TITLE: Studia typologicaPUBLISHER: Akademie Verlag GmbHYEAR: 2012

REVIEWER: Christopher Batteen

SUMMARYThis collection’s purpose is to bring together two subfields, morphology andlanguage contact, to provide into cohesive analyses of language systems orsituations of language contact an area where there’s been relatively limitedwork to date (e.g. Boretzky & Igla 1994, Gardani 2008, Wilkins 1996). Each ofthe 14 articles in this collection contributes to this intersection ofmorphology and language contact and come from differing perspectives focusingon how situations of language contact lead to morphological change orrearrangement and in particular, contact influences on bound morphology. Thebook itself is organized into six parts headed by either geographical area orlanguage family groupings: Amerindia, Austronesia, Balkan (and beyond),Romance, Slavic (outside the Slavic core area), and Africa. Preceding thesearticles is a preface by the editors (Martine Vanhove, Thomas Stolz, HitomiOtsuka, & Aina Urdze) detailing the goals of the project coming out of theinternational conference on Morphologies in Contact at the University ofBremen in October 2009. The volume closes with a list of contributors andseparate indexes for authors, languages, and subjects.

Part I Amerindia contains three articles. Marianne Mithun (“Morphologies incontact: form, meaning, and use in the grammar of reference”), Françoise Rose(“Borrowing of a Cariban number marker into three Tupi-Guarani languages”),and Claudine Chamoreau (“Spanish diminutive markers –it-/-ita in Mesoamericanlanguages: A challenge for acceptance of gender distinction”).

Mithun argues that lexical forms do not always copy (‘get borrowed’) from onelanguage to the other, but instead a morpho-semantic pattern can spreadthrough language contact. She looks at northern California languages,primarily Yuki and Wappo which are related, and compares them to Pomo(primarily) and also Wintun languages, also unrelated. The strongest evidenceis a grammatical marking pattern on pronouns. Both Yuki and Pomo have anagent-patient argument pronominal system (semantic-based), while Wappo,instead, has a nominative-accusative system. The actual forms of the pronounsvary between Yuki and Pomo, but the grammatical marking patterns mirror eachother. Mithun argues that Yuki innovated its case marking system (includingpronoun selection) based on contact with Poma, while Wappo lacked theseinnovations. The forms themselves did not get copied. Other evidence ofthese types of innovations is found with the inclusive/exclusive first personplural distinction, third person referential (only) type distinction, andreference across sentences.

Rose discusses the bound plural morpheme (*komo) in three Tupi-Guaranilanguages: Wayampi, Emerillon, and Zoᶦé. This morpheme, which was used as acollective marker, came into three languages through contact with the Caribanlanguage family. No other bound morphemes have been borrowed into these threelanguages (and no other Tupi-Guarani language uses this morpheme). Rosediscusses whether this bound morpheme comes from ancient contact between theCariban and Tupi or more recent contact, and dismisses historical evidence forancient contact. The Cariban languages use this form across the entire familyas a collective marker suggesting that more recent contact is more likely thesource of the innovation. Wayampi, Emerillon, and Zoᶦé are discussedregarding their structural similarities with the Cariban languages.

Chamoreau discusses diminutive markers (-ito/-ita) in Spanish which encodeboth gender and diminutive status. Some Mesoamerican languages have borrowedthis marker although they already have diminutives. The author argues for astructural motivation for this borrowing, that is, that this category(diminutive) is conveyed via a suffix. Gender distinction is not carried overto the recipient language if it had no gender to begin with -- Only YucatecMaya has native grammatical gender distinctions. Mesoamerican languages varyin how they natively form diminutives. Tepehua uses a phonological process ofsounds being articulated further forward in the mouth, Tepehua and Purepechause a separate word, and Nahuatl uses a suffix. The author categorizes themarker’s borrowing into three patterns: in Tepehua, it is found only on names(sometimes restricted to Spanish names) or Spanish lexical borrowings, inPurepecha, Central Mexicano, and Mexicanero de la Sierra Madre Occidental,only one marker (--ito) is borrowed meaning diminutive (so no genderdistinction) but (--ita) is still found in lexical borrowings, in Yucatec bothmarkers are borrowed to encode gender. Diminutive doubling is also foundthroughout these languages.

Part II Austronesia has only one article, Thomas Stolz (“Survival in a niche:On gender-copy in Chamorro (and sundry languages)”). The author argues thatChamorro, spoken in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands andGuam, has adapted (at least sex-based) gender including gender agreement withadjectives from Spanish. While gender is not frequently transferred vialanguage contact, Stolz argues for that case with Chamorro. While Chamorro isno longer in contact with Spanish, post-contact Chamorro was changed immenselyby earlier contact with Spanish. Gender markers are only found on Spanishloans and Spanish adjectives and other modifiers agree with masculine genderunless the head is semantically feminine. Gender may only be analyzable on asmall subset of the lexicon, but the author provides evidence of productivegender agreement in Chamorro and not just memorized Spanish loan forms.

Part III Balkan (and beyond) presents four articles: Evangelia Adamou (“Verbmorphologies in contact: evidence from the Balkan area”), Birgit Igla & IreneSechidou (“Romani in contact with Bulgarian and Greek: replication in verbalmorphology”), Angela Ralli (“Morphology in language contact: verbal loanblendformation in Asia Minor Greek (Aivaliot)”), and Lars Johanson (“Mood meetsmood: Turkic versus Indo-European”).

Adamou provides a typology of verb morphology under contact for Romani(mainly), but also Greek, Turkish, and Pomak. Language contact typologiesinclude borrowing, grammatical replication, loan verb marker, and innovation.Form and meaning are transmitted during borrowing. Meaning and structure butnot form are transmitted during grammatical replication. Loan verb markersoccur when a form changes its meaning. Innovation is the process oflexicalization for a different meaning. Paradigm transfer of Turkish boundperson morphemes into Romani is a case of borrowing. Backward diffusionoccurs in Turkish and Slavic when borrowed morphemes apply to native recipientlanguage verbs (Romani). A case of novel creation involves an obligatory pasttense evidential marker in Turkish being adopted in Romani meaning‘allegedly’. Loan verb markers from Turkish verbs are borrowed into Romani,but the evidential function is lost. A Greek verb marker loses its aoristfunction in Pomak. Forward diffusion involves borrowing loan verb markersfrom one language and affixing to verbs from a third language. The Greekaorist marker applies to English verbs in Angloromani although it has lost theaorist function. Nashta (Slavic) becomes more like Greek in function andstructure (but not form) in some verbal inflections.

Igla and Sechidou suggest that Romani has replicated an analytic reflexivestructure from Bulgarian and a synthetic passive structure from Greek.Bulgarian and Greek use the same marker in both the passive and reflexivestructures. Greek has both analytic and synthetic reflexives, although thesynthetic reflexive is more dominant pattern, while Bulgarian has onlyanalytic patterns. The split pattern in Romani is argued to be made possibledue to Romani speakers in Greece and Bulgaria. Greek Romani speakersreplicate the synthetic reflexive construction used by Greek speakers. Thisallows two structures, both an analytic and a synthetic reflexive structure,to be used by Greek Romani speakers. Likewise, Bulgarian Romani speakersextend a reflexive pronoun to synthetic (Class II) verbs which already have abound suffix for intransitives. Gradually the reflexive pronoun becameassociated with the intransitive/passive suffix, thereby ensuring an analyticstructure for Romani passives.

Ralli discusses Turkish verb loans and loanblends in Aivaliot.Language-internal considerations (Greek structure) trump external factorspresented by Turkish loans. The degree of bilingualism does not influence themorphological integration of such verbs and verbs are borrowed with the samefrequency of nouns. A variety of Greek verbalizer morphemes appear on Turkishloan nouns while only one such morpheme is associated with Turkish loan verbs.Phonological reasons are suggested as being the reason that this morpheme isassociated for Turkish origin verbs and not nouns. A Turkish past tensemorpheme -di is always found on the Turkish origin verbs, but is leftunanalyzed by Aivaliot speakers, providing a phonological environment in whichonly one Greek verbalizer can be affixed. While Ralli suggests thatGreek-internal structural factors are most important, she concedes thatexternal factors from source languages also do matter. Turkish loans in Greekcan take Greek affixation without a problem, unlike English loan verbs.English loan verbs are found in a light verb (‘do’ + verb) construction. Thisstructural difference is not attributed to bilingualism, because whilebilingualism is not prevalent among Turkish and Greek speakers, it isprevalent among Greek-American speakers (those who employ the light verbstructure).

Johanson suggests that mood markers and their structures in Turkic languagesresemble those of Indo-European languages. Some convergence of these languagefamilies is evident, because these structures are similar enough due tofrequent copying. Synthetic mood markers such as optative, voluntative,hypothetical, necessitative, and purpose attach as suffixes to a lexical verbin Turkic. These structures are represented by periphrastic modalconstructions in which the lexical verb has a mood marker attached. If thesubject is the same in both clauses, then an uninflected verbal noun is found,while the verbal noun is person marked in constructions which have differentsubjects. The “non-canonical” pattern, however, includes a junction betweenthe two clauses. Examples from Ottoman Turkish, Cypriot Turkish, Azeri, IraqOghuz, Khorasan Oghuz, Gagauz, and Colloquial Turkish are given as evidence inshowing these patterns.

Part IV Romance contains three articles: Michele Loporcaro (“Contact-inducedchange in personal pronouns: some Romance examples”), Immacolata Pinto (“Theinfluence of loanwords on Sardinian word formation”), and Mauro Tosco(“Swinging back the pendulum: French morphology and de-Italianization inPiedmontese”).

Loporcaro discusses the role of contact in personal pronoun change inItalo-Romance languages. He compares case marking on personal pronouns inStandard Italian (and other Romance languages) with Latin. Some casedistinctions are neutralized (contact-induced). Objects are derived fromLatin datives in Logudorese Sardinian, but Standard Italian takes theaccusative forms. Campidanese uses nominative forms for all functions due tocontact with Catalan. The neutralization of some of these case distinctionsis argued to be due to contact, because this would be less likely to occuroutside the contact situations (Thomason 2003). Gender neutralization iscontact induced in Logudorese and Gallurese. ''Contact put the gender markingsystem under pressure, in the first place, and this yielded a predictableresult (a convergent system in the replica language, copying that of the modellanguage) for all other word classes (p. 222).''

Pinto analyzes Sardinian morphological processes. Sardinian has very fewproductive prefixes (three), and gains no new ones through loanwordadaptation. External factors play an important role in this diffusion. Pintoquantifies occurrences of prefixes and suffixes (among other morphologicalprocesses) of native and non-native words in a corpus. These are categorizedinto three “layers”: inherited Latin, complex Sardinian (with affixation),loan layer (mainly from Spanish and Catalan). Pinto discusses the percentageof occurrences of various affixes (prefix, suffix, etc.) in each particularlayer. No prefixes are gained via loanword adaptation, although suffixes are.Socio-historical reasons are claimed to be most important here, but geneticmotivations are also argued to play a role. Pinto claims that prefixes wereprevalent in Latin and other Romance languages due to written texts.

Tosco discusses the “ausbauization” of Piedmontese, a process of languagechange due to revitalization and planning. These changes have been influencedby the acceptance of neighboring French and a rejection of Italian influence.Previously, Piedmontese existed in a stable multi-glossic situation with bothItalian and French. With the rise of the Italian national state, Piedmontesehas recently been endangered of becoming too “Italianized” and French hasbecome a ''foreign'' language. Tosco suggests Piedmontese has undergone aprocess of ausbauization as evidenced by orthographic choices, variety choice,and corpus planning. Lexical form/meaning correspondences of words illustratethis process. Socio-historical factors matter most: ''Ultimately, it isideology and politics which make the difference, not linguistics” (p. 261).

Part V Slavic (outside the Slavic core area) consists of two articles:Antonietta Marra (“Contact phenomena in the Slavic of Molise: some remarksabout nouns and prepositional phrases”) and Lenka Zajícová (“Language contact,language decay and morphological change: evidence from the speech of Czechimmigrants in Paraguay”).

Marra analyzes a Slavic variety, Molise, suggesting that contact with Romancehelped establish preposition use in Molise. Gender marking of nouns isdiscussed, along with preposition use and case-marking. The neuter gender inMolise disappears and previously neuter forms become either masculine orfeminine. Loanwords from Romance keep their original gender when they areintegrated into Molise. Native Molise had a complex case system ofinflectional morphology, but lacked prepositions, while Romance lacked thecase-marking system, but provided prepositions. Modern Molise integrates bothprepositions and case-marking. Interference from an 'in' prepositional phraseallows accusative marking on the noun, but if a Romance numeral loanwordprecedes the noun, then case is not marked. A reorganization of the casesystem has taken place, especially in regards to locatives. Both stative andmotion functions of locatives are neutralized, marked by accusatives.

Zajícová discusses a Czech community in Paraguay whose Czech is heavilyinfluenced by contact with local Spanish. This bilingual community iscomposed of first, second, and third generation speakers. Contact of Czechand Spanish drives speaker-creativity leading to morphological innovation.Grammatical systemization is not fully established, but there are some trendsin speaker idiolects. Degrees of bilingualism vary: fluent speakers ofCzech, rusty speakers, semi-speakers, and remembers (not analyzed). Threeforces of language change are suggested processes: analogy, other languageinfluence, and attrition. Fluent speakers of both Czech and Spanish showmorphological changes. They use singular noun forms instead of plurals andadopt a masculine suffix. Spanish roots are used in Czech sentences. Spanishbound morphemes are found on Czech roots in Czech discourse. Spanishpossessive pronouns co-occur with Czech ones. Semi-speakers lack‘systematization’, that is, Czech use is highly creative and idiolectal.Attrition does not eliminate case morphology in Czech, but instead rearrangesmorphology in various patterns based on idiolect. Certain forms of specificwords are lost, not the case ending itself.

Part VI Africa has only one article, Martine Vanhove (“Roots and patterns inBeja (Cushitic): the issue of language contact with Arabic”). Vanhovediscusses a root and pattern typology in Beja, which has a morphologicalsystem similar to Arabic. Other Cushitic languages lack this similarity withArabic and convergence between Beja and Arabic is argued to be the result,rather than borrowing, copying, or replication from Arabic forms.Bilingualism of men (there is less bilingualism among women) in both Beja andArabic plays a role in convergence. “Beja is the only Cushitic language thatuses qualitative ablaut in the stem as a derivational device, for theexpression of various semantic and voice derivations (p. 315).” Bejadifferentiates between active and reflexive voices by alternating vowels,while other Cushitic languages do not. Beja and Arabic have root andconsonant systems showing structural convergence, although the forms andmeanings differ. This morphological system is less developed in Afar and Saho(other Cushitic languages), so the influence of Arabic on Beja is substantial.

EVALUATION“Morphologies in Contact” successful sheds light on a rarely researched topic.It contains numerous perspectives, methodologies, and case studies, but eachinvestigation focuses on language contact and functional aspects ofmorphology.

A central issue addresses in each article whether internal factors, such asstructural considerations of the languages that copy or replicate morphemesunder contact, are more important or if instead external factors matter more,such as bilingualism, length of contact, and socio-historical influence.While each article addresses the nuances of both internal and external factorsinvolved in a contact situation, certain authors are more firmly on one side(or the other) in this debate.

Chomoreau and Ralli stress the importance of language internal structure.Chamoreau emphasizes that the adaptation of a Spanish diminutive marker didnot permit the adaptation of grammatical gender in languages which did notalready have a gender system, and suggested that the diminutive markerfulfilled a structural purpose in these languages and not as a result ofdegree or length of contact. The cross-linguistic evidence is well organizedand utilized. Ralli makes a relevant point regarding degree of bilingualismand structural adaption. Bilingualism is not prevalent among Turkish andGreek speakers although Greek inflection is found on Turkish verbs, butprevalent among Greek-American speakers who cannot inflect English verbs withGreek affixation. This is given as evidence to indicate that structuralreasons trump sociolinguistic factors of bilingualism, which is particularlysatisfying.

On the other side of this debate is presented in articles by Tosco, Pinto, andZajícová. External factors such as socio-historical settings and bilingualismare the central reasons guiding morphological influence from a contactsituation. Tosco pays close attention to ausbauization, which is a veryactive form of language planning and revitalization. The currentsocio-historical situation of Piedmontese involves a active rejection ofItalian influence and acceptance of French forms into the variety. Pintosuggests that Latin or French prefixes were diffused into modern varieties ofSardinian via texts, although this, I believe, is dissatisfying in terms ofbeing a main motivating factor or at least hard to support. Zajícová tellsthe beginning of a story of potential language shift in a bilingual community.The morphological implications based on the bilingual fluency of speakers insuch a community is particularly interesting, although if language shiftcompletes where does that leave the status of Czech bound morphology onSpanish lexical items or vice-versa?

Another relevant topic gets at how morphology is influenced via languagecontact. Some authors discuss situations where the phonological formsthemselves do not copy. Mithun, Johanson, and Vanhove discuss replication andconvergence of morphological patterns caused by bilingualism. Other authorsfocus on a specific morpheme that is copied during a contact situation and itsdistributions, functions, and structures. Rose, Chamoreau, Stolz, Loporcaro,Marra, and Igla & Sechidou focus entirely on one copied morphological process/morpheme. These instances of morpheme copying are easier to argue thanreplication and convergence, although Mithun provides a clear discussion ofhistorical reconstruction that is particularly compelling. Adamou proposestypologies of different types of contact induced morphological changes in theBalkans. One author, Zajícová, even tackles individual morphologicalconsiderations in a bilingual community, which provides a viewpoint thatfocuses on the language faculty itself.

This volume is particularly appealing for those looking for empirical studieson morphology and language contact and it provides a direction for futureresearch in that area.

REFERENCESBoretzky, Norbert & Igla, Birgit. 1994. Interferenz und Sprachwandel. InBenedikt Jessing (ed.), Sprachdynamik. Auf dem Weg zu einer Typologiesprachlichen Wandels. Vol. III: Interferenzlinguistik, 7-139. Bochum:Brockmeyer.

Gardani, Francesco. 2008. Borrowing of inflectional morphemes in languagecontact. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Thomason, Sarah. 2003. Contact as a source of language change. In Brian Joseph& Richard Janda (eds.), The handbook of historical linguistics, 687-712.Malden, MA & Oxford: Blackwell.

Wilkins, David. 1996. Morphology. In Hans Goebl et al (eds.),Kontaktlinguistik: Ein internationales Handbuch zeitgenössischer Forschung,Vol. 1, 109-117. Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter.

ABOUT THE REVIEWERChristopher Batteen is a PhD Candidate in Linguistics at the University ofMinnesota. His research interests are language contact and Bantu linguistics.His dissertation work is on code-switching in Chichewa/English onlinediscussions approaching it from a generative approach. He seeks to finishthis work in 2013 and then find meaningful employment in research andteaching.

Page Updated: 02-Feb-2013