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Conference Information

Full Title: Historical Language Contact in English and Beyond

Location: Thessaloniki, Greece
Start Date: 31-Mar-2017 - 02-Apr-2017
Contact: Alexander Bergs, Nikolaos Lavidas
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: The role of contact in the development of English has been acknowledged in various recent studies. As stated by Hundt & Schreier (2013), English has been “contact-derived from its very beginnings onwards” (see also Trudgill 2016, among others). For instance, multiple possible contact-induced changes in English resulting from contact with Celtic, Old Norse and Norman French have been at the center of discussions and debates over the last decade. In this respect, various analyses have been proposed with regard to the question of superstratal (in the case of Anglo-Saxons and Celts or Norman French and Middle English) or adstratal (in the case of Old English and Norse) relationships among the languages spoken in Britain. The substratal position of a language is related to restricted toponymic borrowing; adstratal positions may lead to the mixing of populations, language shift and even grammatical borrowing. Moreover, it is important to distinguish between the different types of historical (written or oral) language contact: for instance, in the case of Latin, the contact situation developed through a process of acquisition of a foreign language and was heavily affected by the dominant position of Latin as means of literary and spiritual communication (Timofeeva 2010).

Attempts to analyze changes in the history of English as the result of a transfer or borrowing from other languages focus on innovations in later English, including, among others:

(a) The periphrastic do, the progressive form, the it-cleft construction, and the Northern subject rule, with regard to the contact with Celtic (Poussa 1990; Poppe 2003; Ball 1991; Klemola 2013, among many others)
(b) The absolute construction (ablativus absolutus), the passive infinitive, and the nominativus and accusativus-cum-infinitivo constructions, with regard to the contact with Latin (Fischer 1991, 1994, 2013; Kohnen 2003; Nagucka 2003; Timofeeva 2010)
(c) The historical present tense, the use of second-person pronouns and the pragmatics of politeness, the post-posed adjectives, the wh-relatives, and the causative do, with regard to the contact with Norman French (Mustanoja 1960, Fischer 1992, 2004, 2006, among others)
(d) The northern/eastern Middle English present participle ending -ande, the reduction in case agreement, and the V2 syntax, with regard to the contact with Norse (cf. Emonds & Faarlund’s (2014) perspective – for the opposite view, cf. Bech & Walkden (2016)).

Contact-induced changes are prevalent in instances of full bilingualism and code-switching (Fischer 2013). In this respect, results from studies on bilingual language acquisition can lead to a new analysis of change: grammatical changes are likely to happen in instances of successive acquisition of bilingualism (Meisel 2011).
Linguistic Subfield: Historical Linguistics; Linguistic Theories
LL Issue: 27.5101

This is a session of the following meeting:
23rd International Symposium on Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

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