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Review of  Contact Linguistics

Reviewer: Alexander Yu. Rusakov
Book Title: Contact Linguistics
Book Author: Carol Marie Myers-Scotton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics
Issue Number: 14.2501

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Date: Sun, 21 Sep 2003 14:02:57 +0400 (MSD)
From: Alexander Rusakov
Subject: Contact Linguistics: Bilingual Encounters and Grammatical Outcomes

Myers-Scotton, Carol (2002) Contact Linguistics: Bilingual
Encounters and Grammatical Outcomes, Oxford University Press.

Alexander Yu. Rusakov, St. Petersburg State University

The book under review contains a detailed account of Myers-Scotton's
theory in its current state. This theory was first proposed in
her landmark classic "Duelling languages" (Myers-Scotton 1993a);
further developments in this theory can be traced in numerous
follow-up studies written by either Myers-Scotton alone (e.g. 1998,
2001 ) or in collaboration with colleagues (e.g. Myers-Scotton
& Jake 1995, 2000). Although the cornerstone assumptions remain
unchanged, the theory has significantly changed since its
appearance. It may be observed that a general trend of that
development was a shift from a theory of code-switching with
special stress on its grammatical aspect to a broader theory of
language contacts. The phenomena viewed in this theory are
different kinds of structural outcome in the languages involved in the
contacts, ranging from borrowing to the formation of pidgin and
creole languages. It is repeatedly pointed out that there is a
fundamental unanimity between the phenomena at issue (cf. "[t]he
same set of principles and processes explains all contact
phenomena", xii), as well as between bilingual and monolingual
speech (cf. "[t]hese principles and processes are apparent in
language in general", xii).

Along with the discussion of the ideas put forward by Myers-Scotton
and numerous linguistic facts in support of those, the book contains
an elaborate and expedient survey of the up-to-date literature for
each of the raised topics. The text of the book is extremely dense,
which poses certain problems for reviewing it. Thus, in the synopsis,
I will confine myself to the indication at the basic issues raised in
each chapter. It is equally impossible to touch upon all the
theoretical problems discussed by Myers-Scotton in the evaluative
part of the review. Thus I am forced to concentrate on a small range
of issues, mostly on those of particular interest to me personally.


The monograph is aptly organized from a didactic point of view. In
the first chapter, a short outline of a theoretical model or, rather,
of several models proposed by Myers-Scotton is offered, "[c]hapter 2
is the only one that does not focus on grammatical structures in
specific contact phenomena; instead, it offers an overview of the
sociolinguistic factors that promote bilingualism across societies and
in individuals" (28). The third chapter contains a detailed
description of the theoretical approach advocated in the book, while
the following three ones show how this approach "works" with respect
to the various types of contact data. In particular, chapter 4 focuses
on the "problematic" cases of code-switching, chapter 5 on the
problems of convergence and attrition and chapter 6 on lexical
borrowings, mixed languages and creoles. "The final chapter
(Chapter 7) offers a summary in the form of a set of hypotheses
based on discussions in the earlier chapters" (29).

briefly outlines the subject of investigation (see above) and
introduces the general theoretical base of the study. This base
includes four general principles:
- The Matrix Language principle
- The Uniform Structure principle, cf. "[a] given constituent type in
any language has a uniform abstract structure and the requirements
of well-formedness for this constituent type must be observed
whenever the constituent appears" (8)
- The Asymmetry Principle for bilingual frames (asymmetry of the
participation of the languages involved in the bilingual speech)
- and The Morpheme-Sorting Principle ("[a]t the abstract level of
linguistic competence and production, there are different types of
morphemes. In bilingual speech, the outcome of these abstract
differences is that all the morphemes from the participating varieties
do not have equal possibilities of occurrence" (9).

Based on these principles, three models are put forward: the main
Matrix Language Frame model (MLF), that was originally proposed
in (Myers-Scotton 1993a) and then amended almost to its current
state in Myers-Scotton 1997, and two supplementary models
developed in collaboration with Jan Jake - The 4-M model and the
Abstract Level model. These models are thoroughly described in
Chapter 3.

A number of questions essential for further argument are tackled in
the Introduction. In particular, "implications for a model of language
production" are discussed; an approach adopted by Myers-Scotton
"presupposes the model of language production" that is generally in
accordance with (Levelt 1989) although in a modified version
(basically, as a result of putting forward the 4-M model).

A crucial terminological opposition is introduced here between
classic codeswitching (codeswitching in which both the matrix
language and embedded language are preserved more or less intact,
and "the speakers ... can produce well-formed monolingual
utterances in the variety which becomes the source of... ML" - 8) and
composite codeswitching (matrix language has gone through a
convergence with the embedded language).

views language contact phenomena from a sociolinguistic point of view.
Some factors favoring bilingualism are revealed, as well as "the
costs and rewards of bilingualism in the international area" and the
"motivations to become bilingual". A separate section is devoted to
language-use patterns, here lexical borrowing are dealt with (to be
discussed in more detail in chapter 6) along with the use of language
in various functional domains and sociolinguistic aspects of
codeswitching. Besides, Rational Choice Model (cf. in detail Myers-
Scotton & Bolonyai 2001) is briefly outlined, which is an up-to-date
variant of Myers-Scotton's earlier Markedness model (cf. Myers-
Scotton 1993b). The most important innovation in this model is
assuming "that choices are best explained as cognitive based
calculations that depend on their estimations of what choices offer
them the greatest rewards... [t]hat a bilingual may see switching
languages at some point in a conversation as a way to optimize
rewards" (46). Further on, one may find a short section devoted to
language shift; finally, in the end of the chapter and as a kind of
transitory part to the essential part of the monograph, six structural
results of bilingualism are listed which are the topics of the book.
These are (i) lexical borrowing, (ii) codeswitching, (iii)
convergence, (iv) attrition, that goes hand in hand with language
shift, (v) mixed (split) languages, and (vi) creoles (52).

contains a detailed description of the three basic models, with
special stress on the innovations as compared to the theory outlined
in Myers-Scotton 1993a. Some points are highlighted:

- CP (projection of complementizer) and not sentence is used as
unit of analysis (an argument for that has been already proposed in
Myers-Scotton 1997). Codeswitching addressed to in the monograph
is codeswitching within the CP exclusively. Such a preference is first
of all due to the vagueness of the notion of sentence and,
contrariwise, to the clearness of the notion of CP.
- There are some amendments with respect to the concept of Matrix
Language (ML) if compared to the 1993 model. In particular, it is
indicated that, although ML may change within an utterance, it
happens very rarely and, most importantly, ML does not change
within the CP. A discussion follows on the relations between ML
and "the source variety that the Matrix Language frame so closely
resembles" (66). In order to demonstrate the distinction, Myers-
Scotton points to the fact that there are two types of elements that
are built into the ML frame (bare forms from Embedded Language and
Embedded Language islands) "that are not completely integrated into
the morphosyntax of the source of the Matrix Language" (67).
Admittedly, however, "'Matrix Language' may be used as a label for
the source language as a short cut" (67). It is curious in this
respect that on the following page one reads that "[t]he Matrix
Language is an abstract construct... . The Matrix language is an
abstract frame... [i]t does not include actual morphemes nor is it
isomorphic with any fully fleshed-out linguistic variety" (68). It
seems that the relations (or even a controversy) between the two
understandings of ML, viz. 1) a language form that is near to,
although probably distinct from, the source language (this distinction
is in fact determined by the ML's role in Codeswitching) and 2) ML
as an abstract frame remain somewhat unexplicated (see also Boussofara
Omar 2003).

- An opposition between content and system morphemes yields its
place to a more sophisticated 4-M model. The need for such a model
was called for by the fact that there were system morphemes of
Embedded language that did not meet one of the basic principles of
the model, viz. not to appear in mixed constituents. The crucial point
of the new model is a more detailed classification of morphemes that
is based on the parameters that are in no way related to contact
phenomena. The cornerstone opposition of this new classification is
[+/- conceptually activated] distinction of morphemes. The first
group of morphemes embraces those morphemes that "are salient at
the level of the mental lexicon". Lemmas underlying these "types of
morpheme are more directly linked to speaker's intention" (74); in
other words, such elements have semantic content" (76). Content
morphemes and early system morphemes belong to this group, the
lemmas underlying the latter kind of morphemes are, as it were,
extracted by the lemmas of underlying content morphemes, as they
are activated on earlier stages of sentence production. The other
group encompasses two types of late system morphemes that serve
syntactic relations, within and outside the Maximal Projection of
Head, correspondingly. These morphemes are activated at the later
stages of utterance production. One of the main objectives of the
book is to demonstrate that these two groups of morphemes behave
differently in contact situations.

Two other points must be emphasized. 1) The very term 'morpheme'
is used to convey two different meaning in Myers-Scotton's book,
namely, for the actual surface-level morphemes, but also for the
lemmas that support them, abstract entities in the mental lexicon
(106). Accordingly, several 'underlying' morphemes may
correspond to a single 'surface' one. This is of particular importance
when dealing with inflexional languages (see below). 2) 'Early' and
'late' morphemes may be mixed within one grammatical category;
e.g. 'semantic' case morphemes (such as locative and the like) are
'early' morphemes, while syntax-oriented case morphemes belong to
the 'late' type of morphemes.

- Another important achievement is an introduction of the Abstract
Level theory claiming "that there are three levels of abstract
grammatical structure in any lexical item... [:] (i) the level of
lexical- conceptual structure...; (ii) the level of predicate-argument structure..; (iii) the level of morphological realization patterns..." (96). Two domains in which this model is at work are discussed at some length. On the one hand, in classic codeswitching (see above for the term) a morpheme of the embedded language that 'pretend' to be uttered must be checked for congruence with its "Matrix language counterparts". If this congruence fails at a certain level, the elements of the embedded language are included in a not fully integrated form (bare forms or Embedded Language islands; see Chapter 4 for these problems). On the other hand, the Abstract Level model neatly accounts for the convergence phenomena (to be discussed in Chapter 5).

4. CONSIDERING PROBLEMATIC CODESWITCHING DATA AND OTHER APPROACHES (108-163) views the 'behavior' of morphemes of Embedded Language, when they do not meet the requirement of congruence (imposed by the Abstract Level model). One option is the incorporation of bare forms. It is shown that the incongruence of the NP structures in Embedded and Matrix Languages leads to the intrusion of a lexical morpheme in its bare form; on the contrary, if the early system morphemes of the NP (e.g., determiners) show the full congruency with the corresponding elements of the Matrix language they may be used with their content morphemes.

Another topic of this chapter is Embedded Language Islands. A
number of important theoretical issues are touched upon here. These
include triggering (Myers-Scotton is rather skeptical with respect to
the role of this phenomenon), pragmatic and grammatical motivation
of Embedded Language Islands use, Embedded Language islands
and proficiency. As regards the latter, Myers-Scotton makes a rather
witty remark: a wide use of Embedded Language Islands is
indicative of high proficiency in Embedded Language. On the other
hand, "when speakers are nearly equally at home in both languages,
almost ironically, Embedded Language Islands lose their importance.
Instead, switching between CPs becomes very frequent as well as
switching between sentences" (149). (Could not it be the case that in
this situation one may rather speak about a short-term poise between
the two languages without clear domination of one of them?)

Finally, in the last section of the chapter, Myers-Scotton tackles the
question of distinguishing between borrowing and codeswitching, the
topic that has been already discussed in some detail as early as in
Myers-Scotton 1993a. This section is primarily based on the dispute
with those researchers whose views go contrary to those of Myers-
Scotton. These are first of all Susanne Polack and her associates as
well the adherents of the Government and Binding theory or
Minimalist Program. Myers-Scotton points at fundamental
similarity between borrowing and codeswitching, at least on a
synchronic level.

There are some other crucial points in this chapter that seem to be
relevant for the whole theory of Myers-Scotton.
1) The problem of different patterns of behavior of verbs resp. nouns
in language contacts. This problem has been attracting researchers'
attention for many years (see e.g. a special section on bilingual verbs
in Muysken 2000). This topic is prevailing throughout the book.
There are several remarks that are worth mentioning in this respect.
- Unlike nouns, verbs "are [+thematic role assigner] and therefore
carry more 'syntactic baggage' than nouns, meaning their fit with the
recipient language may be harder to make" (76);
- The reason for the frequently attested use of Embedded Language
verbs in do-constructions in Matrix Language could be "a conflict of
branching requirements between the Matrix language and the
Embedded Language" (162).
- Infrequency of adapted verb forms' use may be accounted for by
the "lack of congruence across tense/aspect systems" (138).

2) As regards Embedded Language Islands, Myers-Scotton dwells on
the notion of "internal Embedded Language Island", that is, a
constituent which is "part of larger constituent in which they
constitute a sister to a Matrix language element under N-bar..."
(149). In some cases, such an island is in fact just an inflected
wordform of Embedded Language, e.g. a plural forms (ghost-s).
Elsewhere, arguing against (although partially agreeing with) Ad
Backus, Myers-Scotton advances an important observation,
according to which "[i]dioms, like irregular plurals and irregular past tenses in English (and other languages), may well be contained in single lemmas and therefore are not compositionally assembled" (141). It is not, however, completely clear whether the units of this kind that are reproduced by rote are Embedded Language Islands (probably not?). This problem is very important for the understanding of the essence of codeswitching in inflexional languages; I'll touch upon it once again in the last part of the review.

discusses convergence as outcome as having "two distinctive
features: (i) all surface morphemes come from one language; (ii) the
abstract lexical structure projecting these morphemes no longer
comes from one language, but includes some abstract structure from
another language" (164). These features are characteristic for the
attrition as well. The difference between these phenomena has a
sociolinguistic rather purely linguistic sense: the convergence is
characteristic for the given speech community as a whole (or for the
part of speech community); the attrition is an individual feature.
Besides It may be passingly remarked that the distinction between
convergence and attrition is drawn less straightforwardly than is
usually typical of Myers-Scotton.

In this chapter several key notions of contact linguistics are
discussed, such as convergence areas (=Sprachbund). It is
emphasized that "such areas result from past instances of
asymmetrical relationships" (230). Existing studies of language
attrition are inquired into in much detail. In this discussion, Myers-
Scotton appears to be rather skeptical towards the notion of
markedness (following Thomason and Kaufman 1988 in this

Central for this chapter are theoretical assumptions of Myers-Scotton
herself. Being based on the studies of individual attrition (belonging
to both Myers-Scotton and other researchers), these assumptions are,
of course, valid with respect to convergence as well.

An essential notion of composite matrix language is introduced, i.e.
of a language that has undergone convergence ("[b]oth convergence
and codeswitching necessarily involve a composite Matrix
language", 165). It is noticed below, however, that convergence
merely "often involves codeswitching". The major part of the section
is devoted to the discussion of whether Abstract Level model and 4-
M model are applicable in the analysis of attrition and convergence.
A number of hypotheses are put forward; these could be briefly
summarized in the two following hierarchies of susceptibility of
alteration under attrition:
(i) Predicate-argument structure < morphological realization patterns
< lexical-conceptual structure
(ii) Late system morphemes < early system morphemes < content

It remains unclear, however, with respect to the first of these two
clines, whether it is arrived at deductively or based on a quantitative
analysis of empirical data. In the latter case, it must be noticed that
statistical data reported in the monograph (p. 200) are not themselves
convincing enough for the hierarchy proposed.

(233-294) is one of the most substantial chapters in the book; it
concentrates on a topic, which is in fact essential for the whole
monograph, namely, on the discrepant behavior of lexical elements and
"those signaling grammatical relations".

Speaking about lexical borrowings, Myers-Scotton traditionally
distinguishes between cultural borrowed forms and core borrowed
forms; the former may "begin life" "in the monolingual speech of
either bilinguals or monolinguals .... [as well as] in the
codeswitching of bilinguals" (239), while the latter may do so as
code switches only. It is further argued that there is a crucial
difference in the mechanism of borrowing content and system
morphemes (first of all, late system morphemes), the latter may
"come into a language when its morphosyntactic frame undergoes a
reconfiguration", that is, after convergence has come into play.
Borrowing of such morphemes "is a sign of a Matrix Language
Turnover". It is noteworthy that Myers-Scotton does not comment on
the borrowing hierarchy of the different structural types of
grammatical morphemes (auxiliaries, agglutinative affixes, flexions),
although this topic is quite popular in the literature on language

The following section of the chapter is devoted to the mixed
languages, for which Myers-Scotton prefers the label of 'split
languages'. Two definitions of split languages are given, a strong one
("[a] split language shows all - or almost all - of its morphosyntactic
frame from a different source language from large portions of its
lexicon; this frame includes all - or almost all - of its late system
morphemes from the language of the morphosyntactic frame") and a
less stringent one ("[a] split language shows a major constituent with
its system morphemes and major parts of the morphosyntactic frame
from a different source language from that of most of the lexicon and
the morphosyntactic frame of other constituents", 249).

The three most commonly known cases of split languages are
discussed, namely, Michif, Mednyj Aleut and Ma'a (Mbugu). The
basic mechanism giving rise to split languages is the Matrix
Language turnover. Convergence is a prerequisite for this
mechanism, while codeswitching is a favored although not
completely obligatory requirement. The Matrix Language turnover
may trigger a number of different scenarios of development: (i) it
might be arrested at a certain stage; such a scenario is assumed for
Mednyj Aleut, based largely on Golovko's (1996, 1999) point of
view; (ii) it might be (almost) completed: "a complete turnover of all
the late system morphemes with or without a turnover in at least
some of the lexicon" (248); an example of such development is
Ma'a; (iii) finally, Matrix Language turnover may lead to a language
shift. As far as Michif is concerned, Matrix language turnover is not,
as far as I can understand, postulated in its development; rather we
deal with a peculiar combination of fossilized codeswitching and
convergence. A distinct pattern of behavior of lexical and
grammatical elements is typical of all instances of split languages.

It is worth emphasizing that while Myers-Scotton assumes common
structural pattern of development for all split languages, she
acknowledges the difference in direction of such development in
individual languages depending on particular sociolinguistic
circumstances. Discussing conscious effort on speakers' part
(constructing, inventing) as a possible factor in the formation of split languages, Myers-Scotton notices that "[s]peakers can consciously decide they want to change the way they speak, but this is not the same thing as deciding how to change it" (253).

The last section of the chapter deals with creoles. Myers-Scotton
does not draw a distinction between pidgins and creoles assuming
that nativization (or its absence) is not related to the structure of
these languages and thus is not relevant for the approach adopted in
the monograph. Generally, Myers-Scotton adheres to "the subtratist"
position and substantiates this position within her general
theoretical framework. Myers-Scotton's views on the structural
development of creoles are represented in five basic hypotheses that
can be briefly summarized as follows: (i) "[t]he substrate varieties
contribute to creole formation by supplying the 'invisible'
morphosyntactic frame of the creole" (277); (ii) ... [s]uperstrate-
content morphemes are much more frequent in the creole than
substrate ones" (281); (iii) "[c]ontent morphemes from the
superstrate can be reconfigured as system morphemes" in creoles
(283; curiously, Myers-Scotton does not mention the notion of
grammaticalization at any point of the discussion of such examples);
(iv) "[e]arly system morphemes from the superstrate are only
available to satisfy creole requirements when they are accessed along
with their heads" (286, numerous cases of the use of superstrate
words with their determiners are meant; it seems more appropriate to
view these as single units resulting from 'incorrect analysis' of the
noun phrases of superstrate language); (v) "[l]ate system morphemes
from the superstrate are not available to satisfy the requirements of
the creole morphosyntactic frame" due to the difficulty of access to
the frame of the superstrate language (287).

(295-310), which concludes this monograph, elegantly recapitulates its
main ideas as a set of 'hypotheses for further testing'. These
hypotheses are grouped around two basic theoretical themes: (i) "[t]he
asymmetry between participating languages in contact phenomena and the
press forward of the abstract frame of one language to prevail" (297),
and (ii) "[t]he inherent lack of parity between different types of
morphemes within the abstract frame of all languages in terms of their
patterns of distribution" (297). Another crucial point is putting
forward some basic assumptions that link together the various contact
phenomena discussed in the book. A summary of basic assumptions reads
as follows: "If there is language shift, the mechanisms involved
follow this hierarchy: Classic codeswitching < convergence < composite
codeswitching (i.e. shift most likely with composite codeswitching)"


It must be clear from what has been said above that the new book of
Myers-Scotton is one of the most important contributions to the
study of codeswitching and language contacts that has been
published in the recent years both because of the width of issues
discussed and theoretical depth of treating these issues. It seems,
however, that the very striving for an all-embracing and
uncontroversial global theory is the reason why some points remain
somewhat unclear. Due to space limitations, I will dwell at some
length on those issues only that are of special interest to me.

1. Composite codeswitching and congruent lexicalisation. According
to Myers-Scotton, composite matrix language, that is, matrix
language that has undergone convergence, is a prerequisite for
composite codeswitching. Grammatical frame incorporates elements
of the abstract structure of embedded language. Thus, incorporation
of the elements from the embedded language is facilitated, as it
becomes easier for these elements to be checked for congruence on
all of the three levels of the Abstract Level model. Basically, the
phenomenon at issue is reminiscent of what Pieter Muysken calls
congruent lexicalisation (Muysken 2000: 153). There is, however, an
important distinction between the two. Muysken does not confine
himself to the instances of assimilation between grammatical
structures of two languages as a result of convergence, treating under
the same label those cases when "[t]he languages share the
grammatical structure of the sentence" (Muysken 2000: 122) due to
other reasons (e.g., by virtue of their close cognation). In other
words, Muysken approaches this phenomenon from a purely synchronic
point of view, not taking into consideration its potentially
different origins, while Myers-Scotton, on the contrary, views it, as
it were, from a developmental point of view; however, she sticks to
discussing one particular scenario of development not inquiring
other possible variants. The question arises, whether Myers-Scotton
views as composite codeswitching any codeswitching occurring
between the languages whose grammatical and conceptual structures
are similar. Most likely, the answer is negative.

A possible cue to this problem could have been a comparison of
codeswitching in those situations when grammatical structures of
two languages are similar due to convergence and in those situations
when there is a pre-established structural affinity; however, such a
comparison is not undertaken.

Another remarks pertains to Myers-Scotton's discussion of
composite matrix language, which is characterized as a deviation
from "desired target language", that is accounted for by the lack of
"sufficient access" to the latter. This explanation is suitable, it
seems, for the cases of individual attrition. Things get more
complicated if the history of individual languages is concerned, such
as e.g. the development of Romani dialects almost all of which have
undergone convergence, although with different languages and to a
different extent. On the one hand, the very existence of target language
is doubtful in this case. On the other hand, a study of the real
functioning of Romani dialects shows that speakers of these dialects
have sufficient access to their native language in every particular
moment of time. It's quite another matter that this very language has
changed and the functional range of its use has narrowed under the
influence of the surrounding population (which usually dominates).

2. A tendency to follow rigidly the System morpheme principle leads
to unnecessary, as it seems, formalization of the notion of Embedded
Language island. It is particularly so with respect to the so-called
internal Embedded Language islands (see above), that are sometimes
in fact just isolated word forms of embedded language. As an
example of this the "unadapted" Russian verb forms in the North
Russian Romani dialect (NRRD, cf. Rusakov 2001) may be given,
that are used in this dialect along with the adapted nominal forms.
(Curiously enough, these Russian verb forms and nominal forms are
treated uniformly in metalinguistic comments of the speakers of this
dialect; see Rusakov 2001 for more detail). From a purely formal
point of view, nothing prevents treating these forms as instances of
Embedded Language islands. Moreover, the reasons of the use of
these forms fit nicely into Myers-Scotton's theoretical assumptions,
namely, the lack of congruence with the corresponding Russian
forms (most likely, on the level of morphological realization
patterns, according to the Abstract Level model). It appears,
however, that under such a purely formalistic approach, the
difference between isolated "islands" of this type and those islands
that are relatively long stretches of text gets unnoticed or
underestimated. And still, this difference, however difficult it is to
formalize it, seems to be crucial, and crucial for the processes of
speech production that are generally essential for Myers-Scotton's
approach. Here a reference to Pieter Muysken's conception could be
of some help as he distinguishes between the two mechanisms o
codeswitching (code-mixing, in Muysken's terminology), that is,
between insertion and alternation. In Muysken's view, internal
Embedded Language islands would be undoubted instances of
insertion, while a vast majority of 'longer' Embedded Language
islands would be treated as alternation. It must be admitted for the
sake of objectivity, however, that the difference between alternation
and insertion is less amenable to formalization.

3. Explicit rejection of the distinction between codeswitching and
borrowings on the synchronic level highlights the problem of
borrowing of grammatical morphemes (first of all, of late system
morphemes according to Myers-Scotton). Myers-Scotton
convincingly observes that the mechanism behind such borrowings
is quite different from that behind lexical borrowings. An
explanation of these phenomena as instances of arrested (after
having begun) Matrix Language turnover, that is, as a first step
towards a formation of mixed (split) language seems convincing and
far-reaching as well. However, in order to avoid a possibility of
degrading the notion of 'arrested Matrix Language turnover' to a
mere synonym of high level of interference (in the spirit of
Thomason and Kaufmann), it is vital to understand what properties
are indeed shared (if there are such properties) by relatively
infrequent but non-unique cases of borrowing of grammatical
morphemes from another language (e.g. borrowing of the Russian
prefixes to the NRRD, of Slavic verb prefixes and suffixes to
Megleno-Rumanian, of Turkish verbal affixes to Asia Minor Greek).
It may be noticed that a similar problem arises with respect to the
rise of "classical" mixed (split) languages. Existing theories, among
which Myers-Scotton's is one the most deeply grounded, provide
convincing general patterns of their development; however, none of
them is able to explain why has a particular very unusual
configuration of the elements from the two languages emerged in
this or that particular place and in this or that particular period of
time. This situation is generally typical of historical linguistics,

4. The theoretical model advanced by Myers-Scotton is undoubtedly
universal in nature. However, a question arises to what extent are the
properties of the postulated processes dependent on the typological
characteristics of the languages involved. An example of such
dependence is provided by Myers-Scotton herself who relates
frequent use of bare forms in codeswitching with left-branching
character of the Matrix Language. There are, however, some
problems of typological nature. As has been already mentioned
above, Myers-Scotton uses the term 'morpheme' for both "the actual
surface-level morphemes" and "the lemmas that support them".
Thus, several abstract morphemes may correspond to a single
surface one; this situation is first of all typical of inflexional
languages. Myers-Scotton introduces a "pull down" principle for
those cases when surface morpheme corresponds to "abstract"
morphemes of different types (early and late). According to that
principle "the entire element shows distribution patterns as if it
were a late system morpheme" (305). Empirical data in support of this
principle are provided in (Myers-Scotton & Jake 2001). The
question, however, arises how does this principle work in case of
inflexional languages.

As mentioned above, Myers-Scotton assumes that some word forms (of inflexional languages - A.R.) "may well be contained in single lemmas and therefore are not compositionally assembled". It is obvious that these cases are viewed as rather peripheral. It must be kept in mind, however, that there is no unanimity among linguists as to what forms are produced by rote resp. by rule in inflexional languages. The problem is even more complicated with respect to the second language (naturally, Embedded language is usually though not necessarily always a second language of a speaker). In any case, it is clear that the problem of holistic processing of inflected wordforms in codeswitching exists and needs further investigation. It may be also mentioned that wordforms of inflectional languages are not only characterized by the cumulative character of expressing morphological meanings, but also by the blurriness of morpheme boundaries, etc. It seems in this connection that intrusion of the Embedded language elements into the Matrix Language frame may cause additional troubles when checking on the level of morphological realization patterns. For instance, adaptation of the Russian verbs for their intrusion into the NRRD grammatical frame requires elicitation of the Russian verb stem, which is an intricate operation itself, especially if one takes into account the tangled character of the Russian morphonology.

5. Speaking about word order in the chapter devoted to convergence
(Myers-Scotton points out that word order is an early system
morpheme in some cases) Myers-Scotton almost does not touch
upon the possibility of contact-induced changes that take place on
superficial level, that is, changes of analogical character (syntactic
calques). However, some scholars consider these to be a major type
of contact-induced syntactic changes (see e.g. Joseph 1998). In any
case, changes of this type must play a key role in the assimilation of
syntactical frames of languages involved in contacts. Myers-Scotton
notices on p. 202 that "abstract specifications for word orders at all
levels of syntax also represent the level of morphological realization
patterns". It remains, however, somewhat unclear what role do
superficial changes play in Myers-Scotton's theory.

All what has been said above is not to be understood as criticism;
rather, it was thought of as pointing out some problems, further
elaboration of which could have been useful in my opinion. Some
minor remarks and considerations are also scattered in Synopsis.

It is worth emphasizing once again that the book under review
represents an extremely significant contribution to the study of
language contacts.


Boussofara-Omar, Naima (2003) Review of Contact Linguistics: Bilingual
Encounters and Grammatical Outcomes, by Carol Myers-Scotton.

Golovko, Evgenij (1996) A Case of Nongenetic Development in the
Arctic Area: The Contribution of Aleut and Russian to the Formation
of Copper Island Aleut. In: Ernst H. Jahr and Ingvild Broch (eds.),
Language Contact in the Arctic: Northern Pidgins and Contact
Languages, 63-77. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Golovko, Evgenij (2000) Language and Ethnic Identity:
Sociolinguistic Conditions for the Emergence of Mixed Languages,
Paper presented at the workshop on Mixed Languages, University f
Manchester, 12/2000.

Joseph, Brian D. (1998) Is Balkan Comparative Syntax Possible?

Levelt, Willem J.M. (1989) Speaking: From Intention to Articulation.
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Muysken, Pieter (2000) Bilingual Speech. A Typology of Code-
Mixing. Cambridge: CUP.

Myers-Scotton, Carol (1993a [1997]) Duelling Language.
Grammatical Structure in Codeswitching. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Myers-Scotton, Carol (1993b) Social Motivations for Codeswitching:
evidence from Africa. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Myers-Scotton, Carol (1997) Afterword. In: Myer-Scotton (1993b).

Myers-Scotton, Carol (1998) A way to dusty death: the Matrix
Language turnover hypothesis. In: Grenoble, Lenore A. & Lindsay J.
Whaley (eds.) Endangered Languages. Cambridge: CUP, 289-316.

Myers-Scotton, Carol (2001) The Matrix Language Frame Model:
Developments and Responses. In: Rodolfo Jacobson (ed.),
Codeswitching Worldwide II, 23-58. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Myers-Scotton, Carol and Jake, Janice (1995) Matching Lemmas in a
Bilingual Language Production Model: Evidence from
Intrasentential Codeswitching. Linguistics, 33: 981-1024.

Myers-Scotton, Carol and Jake, Janice (2000) Four Types of
Morpheme: Evidence from Aphasia, Codeswitching, and Second
Language acquisition. Linguistics, 38: 6, 1053-100.

Myers-Scotton, Carol and Jake, Janice (2001) Explaining Aspects of
Codeswitching and Their Implications. In: Janet Nicol 9ed.), One
Mind, Two Languages: Bilingual Language Processing, 84-116.
Oxford: Blackwell.

Myers-Scotton, Carol and Bolonyai, Agnes (2001) calculating
Speakers: Codeswitching in a Rational Choice Model. Language in
Society, 31/1: 1-28.

Rusakov, Alexander (2001) The North Russian Romani Dialect: Interference
and Code Switching. // O.Dahl & M.Koptjevskaja-Tamm (eds.).
Circum-Baltic languages. v.1, 313-337. Amsterdam/Philadelphia:
John Benjamins.

Thomason, Sarah and Kaufman, Terence (1988) Language Contact,
Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics. Berkeley: University of
California Press.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER Alexander Yu. Rusakov is assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University, Department of General Linguistics. His research interests include language contacts, historical linguistics, Balkan linguistics, Albanian language, and Romani.