LSA 212: Language contact and language change

Sarah Thomason | session 2 | TuTh 1:30 – 3:15, 2060 Valley Life Sciences Building (VLSB)

Because language contact is a fact of life for most of the world's people, it is hardly surprising that it often plays a major role in language change. This course will begin with a brief survey of historical, social, and political settings of language contact, to provide background for the main focus of the course: contact-induced language change. Among the topics that will be covered are social and linguistic predictors for the effects of language contact (together with a discussion of why they can never be expected to yield deterministic predictions); the effects of contact-induced language change on the structure of the receiving language; criteria for establishing contact as a cause of language change; mechanisms of contact-induced change; linguistic areas as a special problem for the study of contact and change; mixed languages (pidgins, creoles, and bilingual mixed languages); and contact-induced changes in some (not all) dying languages.

Reading: Sarah Thomason, Language Contact: An Introduction and selected materials available online.

Areas of linguistics: Areal and historical linguistics; Sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology

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