Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

E-mail this page

Conference Information

Full Title: Matter Borrowing vs Pattern Borrowing in Morphology

Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Start Date: 10-Sep-2017 - 13-Sep-2017
Contact: Francesco Gardani
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: When languages are in contact, the morphology of one language can influence the morphology of another. There are two fundamentally distinct ways in which this can occur. Speakers of a recipient language can borrow from a source language either morphological material, that is, actual morphemes, or morphological techniques, that is, structural patterns but no forms. These fundamental types, exemplified in (1) vs. (2), are frequently referred to as ‘matter borrowing’ as opposed to ‘pattern borrowing’ (Sakel 2007; Matras & Sakel 2007).

(1) matter-borrowing
a. yengeç vari

b. pishrow-var

(2) pattern-borrowing
a. aztertu 'examine'
berr-aztertu 're-examine'

b. examinar 'examine'
re-examinar 're-examine'

In Turkish, the adjectivizer vari, borrowed from Persian (1b), can occur on Turkish native bases, such as yengeç ‘crab’ (1a) (Gardani forthc.). In Basque (2a), the native morpheme bir (or its allomorph berr ), meaning ‘repetition’ or ‘emphasis’, replicates a Romance pattern to form deverbal verbs through the prefix re (2b) (Jendraschek 2006: 158–159).

These two phenomena, however, are not necessarily mutually exclusive. A third type of contact-induced morphological change is attested, in which matter borrowing and pattern borrowing are combined (Gardani forthc.). Modern Persian is a case in point. Here, some nouns with native Indo-European etyma, realize their plural forms just as Arabic, the long-standing contact language, does. For example, farmān ‘order’ (3a) yields a plural farāmīn, not only replicating a Semitic non-concatenative morphological technique, CVCV:CV:C, but also resorting to the same set of vowels, CaCa:Ci:C, which occurs, e.g., in Arabic ṣanādīq ‘boxes’ (3b) (data from Jensen 1931: 45; see also Mumm 2007: 41).

(3) Modern Persian
a. farmān ‘order’ b. ṣandūq ‘box’
farāmīn ‘orders’ ṣanādīq ‘boxes’

As is generally acknowledged, morphology is relatively resistant to borrowing (Gardani et al. 2015a). This fact makes the study of morphological borrowing a valuable heuristic tool in investigations of the genealogical relatedness of languages or language groups (good examples are Law 2013, 2014; Robbeets 2015). While the topic of morphological matter borrowing has recently received slightly more attention in contact linguistics (Gardani 2008, 2012; Gardani et al. 2015b; Seifart 2013, 2015), the phenomenon of morphological pattern borrowing and in particular, its cross-linguistic diffusion and areal dimensions, are still largely understudied. The workshop matter borrowing vs pattern borrowing in morphology endeavors to fill this gap and aims to provide a cross-linguistic survey of matter borrowing and pattern borrowing, in order to seize their global extension and incidence in the evolution of morphology. We are especially interested in the following questions (but potential contributors should not feel restricted by them):

1. Which areas of morphology are more frequently affected by which type of borrowing?
2. What are the conditions that promote or inhibit the spread of which type of morphological borrowing?
3. Are the processes that underlie pattern borrowing the same that underlie contact-induced grammaticalization (Heine & Kuteva 2003)?
4. To what extent are abstract paradigmatic structures, such as morphomes (Maiden 2005), borrowed?
5. How can the study of pattern borrowing relate to phylogenetic patterns and contribute to the study of areal patterns in morphology?
Linguistic Subfield: General Linguistics; Genetic Classification; Historical Linguistics; Morphology; Typology
LL Issue: 27.3824

This is a session of the following meeting:
50th Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea

Calls and Conferences main page