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Montserrat Adam-Aulinas (Universitat de Barcelona)The diffusion in the verb paradigm of the first person singular /i/ morph in Occitan and northern Catalan: phonological and morphological factors

The /i/ morph of the first person singular originally appeared in the present indicative. On the basis of the geographical distribution of the first person singular /i/ morph occurring in different varieties of the Occitan and Catalan languages in different verb tenses and classes, we describe the phonological and morphological factors that may have helped or hindered the expansion of this morph from the present indicative of classes I, II and III to the rest of the verb paradigm or to other verb subclasses.

1) Among the phonological factors we mention are:

  1. the stress or absence of stress on the last syllable. In turn, factor (1) can be divided into three subfactors:
    1. oxitone forms which appear as a consequence of the linguistic evolution of a particular area (for example, dormiò [imperfect indicative]);
    2. forms peculiar to Catalan (for example, cantés [imperfect subjunctive]);
    3. paroxitone forms which appear by processes of morphological analogy (for example, ;cantere / canteri [simple past]).
  2. the pitch of the vowel that precedes the first person singular /i/ morph (for example, dormia / dormii [imperfect indicative]).

2) As regards the morphological factors, we should mention:

  1. the presence of velar extension in one verb subclass (for example, bec [present indicative]).
  2. the syncretism between the first person singular of the present indicative and the subjunctive (for example, canti [PI] ~ cante / canti [PS]).

Some of the above factors can occur both in Occitan and in Catalan; some occur only in one of these languages, and may even occur in one or some varieties of these languages.

Finally, given a single morphological and phonological pattern, when forms from two linguistic varieties of a language come into contact, the fact that one of them corresponds to the standard variety seems to have been decisive for the selection of a specific morph (for example, canto vs. canti).

Our analysis is based on:

  1. data from the ALF, ALPO, ALG and Sacaze atlases;
  2. the information on the different Occitan dialects published in the Ronjat (1930-1941) and Alibèrt (1976) grammars;
  3. the Alcover (1906-1928) Catalan verb corpus; and
  4. the information obtained during our recent fieldwork in the Catalan southern Pyrenees (Adam-Aulinas 2006).


Evangelia Adamou (Lacito-CNRS)Verb morphologies in contact: Evidence from South Slavic (Nashta, Pomak) and Romani (Komotini) in Greece

Following some of the most recent typologies in language contact, such as Heine & Kuteva (2005), Matras & Sakel (2007) and Matras (2007), I will discuss a typology of verb morphologies in contact.

Next to the well known replication and borrowing for contact-induced linguistic transfer (Heine & Kuteva 2005), I am suggesting the introduction of one more category for the cases of TMA markers accompanying the loan verb without maintaining their meaning – this is a well known phenomenon cross-linguistically but generally analyzed from a different perspective (‘how do loan verbs get integrated’, see Wichmann & Wohlgemuth 2008). Still, viewed as the way in which verb morphology behaves in contact, I will argue that this phenomenon deserves a special mention.

I will illustrate this typology with examples from my fieldwork in Greece on South Slavic varieties in contact with Greek or/and Turkish, as well as on Romani in contact with Turkish and Greek.

A working typology (Adamou 2008)

borrowing of form & meaning meaning replication (calquing) grammatical replication (meaning & structure)
  1. contact induced grammaticalization
  2. restructuring: (loss, rearrangement)
    In Heine & Kuteva 2005
borrowing (form & meaning)
In Heine & Kuteva 2005
form without meaning
PAT replication
In Matras & Sakel 2007 (convergence)
MAT-PAT replication
In Matras & Sakel 2007 (fusion In Matras 1998) rare for TMA
ex. Nashta < Greek
In Adamou 2006
ex. Romani < Turkish
In Adamou 2008
ex. Pomak < Turkish
In Adamou 2008


Adamou, E. 2006. Le nashta. Description d’un parler slave de Grèce en voie de disparition. Muenchen: Lincom.

Adamou, E. 2008. Contact de langues et écologie: le romani et le pomaque au contact du turc (Thrace, Grèce), Communication orale Workshop Ecology and Language Evolution, Paris-Lacito, 23 octobre 2008. Video in:

Heine, B. & Kuteva T. 2005. Language contact and grammatical change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Matras, Y. 1998. Utterance modifiers and universals of grammatical borrowing. Linguistics, 36/2: 281-331.

Matras, Y. 2007. The borrowability of structural categories. In Matras Y. and J. Sakel (eds) Grammatical borrowing in cross-linguistic perspective. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Matras, Y. & Sakel, J. 2007. Investigating the mechanisms of pattern replication in language convergence. Studies in Language 31 (4): 829-865.

Wichmann, S. & J. Wohlgemuth. 2008. Loan verbs in a typological perspective. In Stolz, T., D. Bakker, & R. Salas Palomo (eds.), Aspects of Language Contact. New Theoretical, Methodological and Empirical Findings with Special Focus on Romancisation Processes: 89-121. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.


Gilles Authier (INALCO, France)Azerbaijani morpheme-borrowing in South-East-Caucasian languages

East-Caucasian languages spoken in contact with Azerbaijani have sporadically borrowed clitics, like the evidential marker mIsh in Kryz, and bound-morphemes, for instance an ablative case-marker in Tabassaran, adverbial endings in Rutul, and possessive markers in set expressions found in various languages.


Authier, G. 2009. Grammaire kryz. Langue caucasique d'Azerbaïdjan, dialecte d'Alik. Société de Linguistique de Paris.


Peter Bakker (Aarhus/Denmark)Creoles versus languages with little morphology

There is an ongoing debate among creolists whether creole languages constitute a typological subgroup – a point hardly ever raised by typologists, many of whom seem to find it obvious. Another point of dicussion is whether creole languages have exceptionally little morphology, or not. If one assumes that they indeed have little morphology, another point of discussion is whether creoles are morphologically distinct from non-creoles. The current dominant answers in creolists circles are probably “no” for all three questions. We, however, defend a minority position when claiming that creoles indeed have little morphology compared with the languages of the rest of the world, and that they form a typological group. We go beyond this and show that creoles also differ typologically from the world’s non-creole languages with the least morphology.

We prove this by comparing creoles with non-creoles in two distinct ways. First, we take a set of structural features assumed by creolists to be typical for creoles, and compare those features with a sample of non-creole languages with little morphology. Second, we take a set of typological features established as relevant for linguistic diversity by typologists. Here, we select thosee languages with the least developed morphology and compare those with a sample of creole languages. 

In both perspectives (the global perspective of the typologist and the creole perspective), creoles appear to be typologically remarkably distinct from non-creoles with little morphology. There appears to be only minimal overlap between creoles and morphologically underdeveloped languages, both when using supposedly typically creole features, and when taking properties of languages of the world as a point of departure. This establishes creoles clearly as a typological subgroup and, more importantly, as distinct from non-creoles with little morphology.

The conclusion must be that the relative young age of creoles is responsible for their typological distinctness, even compared with languages with little morphology.


Dik Bakker (Lancaster, Amsterdam)Ewald Hekking (Queretaro, Mexico)Morphology and language contact in some Latin American languages

In this paper we investigate the extent to which morphology is involved in the borrowing from  Spanish by three typologically and areally unrelated Amerindian languages, viz. Otomi, Quechua and Guarani. We will base our observations on a corpus of spontaneous speech that we recorded for these languages, and provided by 30 to 50 native speakers per language. In Bakker et al (2008) we established that between 14% and 18% of the lexical elements in this corpus have been borrowed from Spanish. All borrowings found in the corpus have been annotated for their parts of speech in Spanish and their syntactic function in the native text. We will discuss the ways in which both native lexical elements and borrowed Spanish ones interact with the native and Spanish morphology. The differences that we observe will be discussed from the perspective of typological differences between the three languages, and their borrowing histories. We will compare our results with observations and predictions made in the literature on borrowing (cf. Heine & Kuteva 2005; Matras 2007; Wichmann & Wohlgemut 2008). Furthermore, we will single out certain striking effects of language contact on morphology in Otomi. Finally, we will discuss some possible effects of the Otomi morphological system on the Spanish spoken in the Otomi linguistic area.


Bakker, D., J. Gómez-Rendón & E. Hekking (2008). Spanish meets Guaraní, Otomí and Quichua: a multilingual confrontation. In Th. Stolz, D. Bakker & R. Palomo (eds) Aspects of Language Contact. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 165–238.

Heine, B. & Kuteva T. 2005. Language contact and grammatical change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Matras, Y. 2007. The borrowability of structural categories. In Y. Matras & J. Sakel (eds) Grammatical borrowing in cross-linguistic perspective. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Wichmann, S. & J. Wohlgemuth. 2008. Loan verbs in a typological perspective. In T. Stolz, D. Bakker, & R. Salas Palomo (eds) Aspects of Language Contact.  Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 89–121.


Walter Breu (Konstanz/Germany)Tense, Aspect and Mood in Molise Slavic

Molise Slavic (MSL) is traditionally spoken in three bordering villages of the Province of Campobasso in the Italian Region of Molise, each demonstrating a different degree of language preservation: Acquaviva Collecroce (the main village of the Slavic speaking population), Montemitro (smaller and more conservative) and San Felice (with only few older people still speaking Slavic). According to dialectal peculiarities the ancestors of the contemporary Molise Slavs emigrated from the Hercegovinian Neretva Valley approximately 500 years ago. By now, the total number of active speakers of MSL is probably below 1000. Since the emigration of the ancestors of the contemporary speakers of the language, MSL has been under the influence of the Molisian dialect of Italian, to which Standard Italian influence joined about 150 years ago. From a genetic standpoint, MSL can be assigned to the Štokavian-Ikavian dialect group of the Central South Slavic languages (Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian). Italian is the sole dominant high-variant language (umbrella language, dachsprache) for mainly only orally used MSL, whereas the genetically closely related Standard Croatian language is of no relevance in everyday life and is almost completely unintelligible to untrained speakers.

In the given situation of “absolute language contact”, where almost all speakers of the minority languages are (at least) bilingual, the adstrate influences on the minority language are particularly intense and far-reaching, thus giving rise to many adaptations of the minority grammar to the grammatical systems of the model language. Nevertheless, there are also many fields in which MSL has remained unchanged.

In my talk, attention will be given to the questions, to which extent language change through contact leads to the adaptation of different language systems, which ways are chosen in this process, but also which areas resist adaptation and possibly may even show signs of independent developments distinct from the contact language. In particular I will discuss pertinacity and change in the grammatical categories of Tense, Aspect and Mood. Among other things, the rise of an opposition between two modally differentiated futures will be considered, the conservation of a past perfect, and the development of a new potential/ counterfactual mood in spite of the conservation of the traditional one. Special emphasis will be laid on the explanation of the restructuring of the two traditional Slavic aspect categories (inflectional and derivational) in MSL by means of language contact, also in comparison with other contact areas. The following cases will be taken into consideration:

  • Case I: decrease in aspect oppositions
  • Case II: conservation of aspect oppositions (≠ L2)
  • Case III: conversion of aspect oppositions
  • Case IV: increase in aspect oppositions
  • Case V: change of category: aspect -> mood


Claudine Chamoreau (Villejuif, France)Morphology in Mesoamerican languages contacts

Few grammatical affixes have been borrowed from Spanish into native Mesoamerican languages. At the level of the nominal morphology, Suárez (1977), Hill and Hill (1986), and Flores Farfán (1999) show that only three elements have been borrowed in various varieties of Nahuatl: the plural suffix (-s/-es), the agentive marker (-tero/-ero) and the diminutive marker (-ito/-ita). Stolz (1998 cited by Stolz 2008) indicate that Yucatec Maya also borrowed the agentive and the diminutive markers. Swadesh (1967) and Chamoreau (2007) point out that only one suffix has been borrowed in Purepecha, the diminutive marker. These facts are in accordance with the results presented by Stolz (2008) and with the assertion made by Matras (2007: 44) that "Borrowing of bound markers favours in particular plural markers, diminutive and agentive derivational markers, and classifiers (but not gender markers) […]”.

The aim of the talk is to explore the loan of the diminutive marker in some languages of Mesoamerica. In Spanish, the diminutive marker can be codified by various forms -ito, -ita, -illo, -illa, -cito, -cita, -cillo, -cilla. Nevertheless only the first two have been reported as borrowings. These elements are very productive and very creative in the Spanish varieties spoken in Mexico and are used for a large range of communicative intentions: to indicate something is small (perrito), to indicate something is charming (abuelita), to provide a nuance of meaning (ahorita), to give a friendly tone (quisiera un refresquito), to indicate something is unimportant (mentirita) … (Reynoso 2001).

The study of the loan of the diminutive marker is particularly interesting because this marker encodes two different categories: the diminutive category -it, and the gender category which distinguishes a masculine form -ito from a feminine one, -ita. The first category is rather transparent at the semantic level and thus more easily borrowable, the second is not transparent since the languages investigated lack a grammatical category of gender (Matras 2007).

The first objective of the talk is to explain the reason why these languages have borrowed this marker while they possess an element which allows the expression of the diminutive category, for example: -tsin in Nahuatl, chan in Yucatec Maya, sapi in Purepecha. Since these native elements are polysemous, the borrowing of the Spanish marker creates a form specialized at the semantic level. Although the Spanish diminutive marker shows different contextual uses, the languages restrict its use to express a positive and emotional feeling.

The second objective is to analyse how these languages which do not have grammatical differentiation of gender borrow a marker which encodes this distinction. According to Field (2002: 195-196), certain constraints make the borrowing of an affix difficult if a category does not exist in the receiving language. These languages show a similar strategy to by-pass this typological constraint. They generally retain the masculine form (-ito), which is apparently a result of the relative frequency of such forms. Nevertheless, they also use the feminine form (-ita). Each language shows particularities in the capacity of borrowing this form. The specific behaviour of each language can be explained by sociolinguistic and pragmatic factors.

I will thus argue that even if certain typological constraints exist, sociolinguistic and pragmatic factors allow to get round them and make possible the introduction of a distinction of gender in contexts related with the borrowing of the diminutive marker in these languages (Thomason 2001).


Chamoreau, C. 2007. Grammatical borrowing in Purepecha. Y. Matras & J. Sakel (eds.). Grammatical borrowing in cross-linguistic perspective. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 465–480.

Field, F. 2002. Linguistic Borrowing in Bilingual Contexts. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Flores Farfán, J. A. 1999. Cuatreros somos y toindioma hablamos. Contactos y conflictos entre el náhuatl y el español en el sur de México. México: CIESAS.

Hill, J. & Hill, K. 1986. Speaking Mexicano. Dynamics of Syncretic Language in Central Mexico. Tucson : The University of Arizona Press.

Matras, Y. 2007. The borrowability of structural categories. Y. Matras & J. Sakel (eds.). Grammatical borrowing in cross-linguistic perspective. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 31–73

Reynoso, J. 2001. Los diminutivos en el español. Un estudio de dialectología comparada. México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Stolz, C. 1998. Hispanicisation in modern Yucatec Maya: gramatical borrowing. A. Koechert & T. Stolz (eds.). Convergencia e individualidad. Las lenguas mayas entre hispanización e indigenismo. Hannover: Verlag für Ethnologie. 165–194.

Stolz, T. 2008. Romanicisation worldwide. T. Stolz, R. Salas Palomo & D. Bakker (eds). Aspects of language contact. New Theoretical, Methodological and Empirical Findings with Special Focus on Romancisation Processes. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.1–42

Suárez, J. 1977. La influencia del español en la estructura gramatical del náhuatl. Anuarios de letras 15. 115–164.

Swadesh, M. 1967. Cuatro siglos de transculturación lingüística en el porhé. Anales de Antropología. México:UNAM. 161–185.

Thomason, S. 2001. Language Contact. An Introduction. Washington: Georgetown University Press.


Éva Á. Csató (Uppsala University)Karaim as a case of contact morphology

Karaim is a Kipchak Turkic language that has been spoken in today’s Lithuania for more than six hundred years. The dominating non-Turkic languages of the area have heavily influenced its structure and the communicative habits of its speakers.

Intensive copying processes have also induced changes in the morphology. A general tendency is to copy analytical devices of the contact languages. In Turkic, modal categories are typically expressed by means of suffixes. Karaim today applies a reduced inventory of modal suffixes. Selective and global copies of foreign modal auxiliary verbs are used to express necessity, ability, obligation, volution, etc. Selective copying has resulted in auxiliaries based on native Karaim forms with copied combinational features, for instance bolal- ‘to be able; can’ + infinitive. Certain auxiliaries have been copied globally, for instance, moget’- + infinitive ‘to be able to; can’, must’- + infinitive ‘must’. The copied auxiliaries function as finite verbs which can be conjugated. Copies of this kinds are construed with the Karaim auxiliary verb et- ‘to do’, but fusion has blurred the original shape of this verb.

The Optative is used in Karaim as a syntactic subjunctive selected by certain semantic classes of predicates. This is an areal feature characteristic of many genetically non-related languages in contact. This syntactic pattern is also found in Iranized Turkic varieties (cf. Johanson’s abstract).


José Antonio Flores Farfán (CIESAS-México)Revisiting obsolete Nahuatl morphology

In this contribution I will revisit the state of the art of obsolescent Nahuatl varieties. For this purpose the most outstanding facts that configure obsolescent Nahuatl varieties will be reconsidered in the light of new hypothesis and recent documentation of other more or less highly Hispanized Nahuatl varieties or languages, comparing them to more conservative ones. Among others, these facts include:

  1. The use of plural markers that have converged towards Spanish, specifically –n versus the glottal stop.
  2. The leveling or neutralization of the distinction between absolutive and possessed forms, specifically the use of –tl versus –w.
  3. The use of nude roots to express new Nahuatl categories or innovations such as quasi-infinitive forms.
  4. The trend towards a more analytical versus a polysynthetic language.
  5. The obsolescent pragmatics of reverential morphological uses.

It is well known that obsolescence is linked to advanced stages of ongoing processes of language shift and death. Such a context will be kept in mind in terms of different types of speakers and linguistic communities as well as considering the specific conditions of data collection, such as elicitation and more spontaneous speech events.


Magdalena Fialkowska (University of Surrey, UK)Grammatical gender in the speech of Polish-English children

Child language studies used to oscillate between two positions with regard to gender assignment to nouns: (1) gender differentiation is established on the basis of semantic features (biological sex of the referent) (Mulford, 1985); (2) gender assignment is based on morpho-phonological/syntactic clues (Levy, 1988). Subsequent research on monolingual children (e.g. De Houwer, 1990, Pérez-Pereira, 1991) has confirmed that morpho-phonology plays a more important role in gender assignment than semantics. I demonstrate that the same is true for bilingual speakers, thus providing more evidence against the semantic primacy hypothesis. I also show that nouns transferred from a genderless language (English) may influence the children’s production of the language with a rich gender system (Polish), sometimes leading to blurred gender assignment.

The database used here results from a two-year data collection process from three Polish-English bilingual children. It totals c. 56,000 children’s utterances, of which 1,327 are mixed utterances, often containing English nouns allocated to a Polish gender. When a child simultaneously acquires languages with different gender systems, nouns transferred from one into the other may be assigned a new gender, so that lexical insertion can be used freely in the child’s syntactic constructions. The gender of an insertion is identified by the inflection imposed by the noun on the agreeing element, or by its own inflection, i.e. when the noun’s gender “follows from its morphology” (Corbett, 1991: 72).

Gender assignment in Polish is based on two criteria; formal and semantic. The formal properties of a noun (morphological and phonological) and its meaning may or may not point to the same gender simultaneously. Example (a) shows that semantic clues can be overridden by formal clues. The child is discussing a book about witches while looking at pictures of female characters. The semantic clues are at hand, yet the demonstrative pronoun ten ‘this-MASC’ reveals that the witch is allocated to the masculine gender. Example (b) provides an insight into how the two languages interact. The child first uses a noun hen in agreement with the demonstrative taki ‘such-MASC’, allocating the transferred English noun to the masculine gender. The investigator uses the Polish feminine equivalent kura ‘hen’ twice, and then asks a reinforcing question, after which the child also uses the Polish noun, but with masculine inflection. I propose that in this example (and others) English is hindering the child’s progress in learning gender assignment rules in Polish.

My data confirm observations previously reported in the literature that masculine gender can be argued to be the default, and formal clues override semantic clues. Additionally, I have observed that a genderless language may have a negative influence on the acquisition of gender assignment rules in a language with a complex gender system. This observation provides more insight into child acquisition of a complex gender system.




Corbett, G. G. (1991). Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

De Houwer, A. (1990). The acquisition of two languages from birth: A case study. Cambridge: CUP.

Levy, Y. (1988). On the early learning of formal grammatical systems: evidence from studies of the acquisition of gender and countability. Journal of Child Language, 15 (1), 179–187.

Mulford, R. (1985). Comprehension of Icelandic pronoun gender: Semantic versus formal factors. Journal of Child Language, 12, 443–453.

Pérez-Pereira, M. (1991). The acquisition of gender: What Spanish children tell us. Journal of Child Language, 18 (3), 571–590.


Francesco Gardani (Vienna/Austria)Borrowing of inflectional morphemes in language contact

The phenomenon of inflectional borrowing in and through language contact has at all times seemed to be the most poorly documented aspect of linguistic borrowing. Meillet’s (1921:87) axiom of the impenetrability of grammatical systems with his categorical assumption that “[i]l n’y a pas d’exemple qu’une flexion comme celle de j’aimais, nous aimions ait passé d’une langue à une autre” has proven incorrect, as already shown by Schuchardt (1928:195) and Weinreich (1953:31). Nonetheless, whereas contact-induced morphological change is not rare in word formation, it is exceptional in inflection. In Gardani (2008 [2002]) a deductive catalogue of factors conditioning the probability of transfer of inflectional morphology from one language to another has been presented and empirical data drawn from Australian languages, Anatolian Greek, the Balkans, Welsh, and Arabic has been adduced.

In my approach, inflectional borrowing is distinguished from mere quotation of foreign forms and is acknowledged only when inflectional morphemes are attached to native words of the receiving language and have maintained the (at least partially) identical meaning (and function) they carried out in the source language. This constraint encloses cases such as Persian pl. dehāt from sg. deh ‘village’ (from Old Persian dahyu‑ ‘land’) where the Arabic plural suffix –āt shows up; contrariwise, it rules out e.g. Mexicano (Central Mexico) common plural formations such as chiquihuite-s ‘baskets’ (Mexicano sg. chiquihuitl), chinamite-s ‘corn stalks’ (Mexicano sg. china:mitl) which display the Spanish plural suffix ‑s/‑es, because the suffix “is restricted to appearing on Spanish nouns, or on Hispanicised forms of Mexicano nouns” (cf. Hill & Hill 1986:164).

In my talk, I will show that the morphological categories belonging to inherent inflection are borrowed more easily, hence more frequently, than categories pertinent to contextual inflection. This is predictable from the consideration that inherent inflection is more similar to derivation than contextual inflection (cf. Booij 1996; Kilani-Schoch & Dressler 2005:109–111) and from the observation that derivation is more easily borrowable than inflection. Moreover, I will show that intra-linguistic factors, which respond to requirements of naturalness in the sense of Dressler (2000), may display a relevant influence rating in favouring inflectional borrowings.


Booij, Geert. 1996. "Inherent versus contextual inflection and the split morphology hypothesis". In: Yearbook of Morphology 1995, pp. 1–16.

Dressler, Wolfgang U. 2000. “Naturalness”. In: Geert Booij & Christian Lehmann & Joachim Mugdan 2000 (eds.), Morphology. An International Handbook on Inflection and Word-Formation. Vol. I. Berlin: de Gruyter, pp. 288–296.

Gardani, Francesco. 2008. Borrowing of Inflectional Morphemes in Language Contact. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. [revision of the homonymous 2002 MA thesis, Vienna University]

Hill, Jane H. & Kenneth C. Hill. 1986. Speaking Mexicano. Dynamics of Syncretic Language in Central Mexico. Tucson, Arizona: Univ. of Arizona Press.

Meillet, Antoine. 1921. Linguistique historique et linguistique général. Paris: Champion.

Kilani-Schoch, Marianne & Wolfgang U Dressler. 2005. Morphologie naturelle et flexion du verbe français. Tübingen: Narr.

Schuchardt, Hugo. 19282. Hugo Schuchardt-Brevier. Ein Vademecum der allgemeinen Sprachwissenschaft. (L. Spitzer ed.). Halle: Niemeyer.

Weinreich, Uriel. 1953. Languages in Contact. Findings and Problems. Publications of the Linguistic Circle of New York. New York.


Birgit Igla (Sofia/Bulgaria)Irene Sechidou (Thessaloniki/Greece)Romani in Contact with Bulgarian and Greek: comparing contact-induced innovations on verbal morphology

Romani has three verbal forms for active, passive and reflexive – two synthetic and an analytic one. This system allows for an unequivocal relation between form and function.

Greek and Bulgarian on the other hand express passive and reflexive by only one multifunctional verbal form – Greek displays the synthetic ‘mediopassive’ and Bulgarian the analytic reflexive(-passive).

Under the influence of these languages a tendency is observed in Romani dialects to reduce the system to two forms, reflecting the ambiguity in the forms of the contact languages.


Lars Johanson (Mainz / Germany)Mood meets mood: Turkic versus Indo-European

Turkic languages possess a number of oblique moods expressed with synthetic devices, i.e. bound optative, voluntative, hypothetical, necessitative and purposive markers, primarily used as finite items in independent sentences. Most markers used in modern languages are attested in similar forms at the oldest documented stage of Turkic (8th century). Turkic also uses periphrastic modal constructions: lexical predicates with inherent modal meanings plus complements marked with nonfinite verbal noun suffixes.

Many Turkic languages, however, display non-canonical periphrastic subjunctive constructions consisting of (1) a predication containing a lexical predicate with inherent modal meaning; (2) a predication containing a finite predicate in an oblique mood, expressed by the same markers that are used in independent sentences; (3) an optionally intervening free junctor. Example: A iste-r [ki(m)] B gel-sin ‘A wants B to come’, where both the verb iste- ‘to want’ and the voluntative mood marker -sin signal volition.

The origin and development of this type, which has existed in certain Turkic varietes for at least a millennium, are commonly ascribed to Indo-European influence. The patterns seem to have emerged in Old Uyghur as combinational-semantic copies of Indo-European clause junction techniques. Under the impact of New Persian, they developed strongly in Chaghatay, Ottoman, Uzbek, Azeri, etc. Similar patterns were later copied from Slavic languages.

Many Turkic varieties in long and intense contact with Indo-European languages make extensive use of such constructions and have often allowed them to replace the canonical ones. The non-canonical constructions display a broad range of lexical modal predicates expressing wish, request, command, intention, hope, expectation, fear, obligation, duty, purpose, etc.

Patterns of this kind are now found in varieties spoken in communication areas of Central Asia (e.g. Uzbek), Siberia (e.g. Tuvan, Khakas, Altay Turkic, Yakut), Iran-Iraq-East Anatolia, (e.g. Azeri, South Oghuz), the Balkans (West and East Rumelian Turkish, Gagauz), Cyprus, etc. In Central Asia they are essentially copied from Persian, in Siberia from Russian, in circum-Anatolian varieties from Greek, Slavic (Bulgarian, Serbian, Macedonian) and Albanian. They belong to the so-called Balkanisms of the South-European languages, which have replaced infinitives by finite complementation. Cypriot Turkish regularly uses constructions of this type to express various kinds of modality, semantically and syntactically close to Cypriot Greek patterns. Balkan Turkish has copied a wide range of subjunctive constructions that differ strongly from their standard Turkish counterparts.

The patterns are similar to their models as far as the use of finite mood forms is concerned. The main difference is that the Turkic constructions are not subordinative in the sense of syntactic embedding. If junctors are employed, they do not function as subjunctors.

There is often agreement with respect to modality between the lexical predicate and the mood marker. One predication, the controller of agreement, may govern an oblique mood of the second predication, the target of agreement. In this case, the mood marker does not provide more modal information than the lexical predicate itself does, i.e. it is semantically redundant, retaining a purely syntactic function. Compare the use of Romance subjunctives in dependent clauses governed by lexical expressions of wish, purpose, hope, request, doubt, assumption, etc., e.g. French A veut que B vienne ‘A wants B to come’, where vienne ‘may s/he come’ tells us nothing more about the speaker’s attitude than veut ‘wants’.

Though the non-canonical Turkic constructions are obviously contact-induced, their basic structure is not alien to Turkic. They seem to originate in the juxtaposition of two independent sentences, where sentence 2 signals the mood and the connection with sentence 1, in the sense of ‘A has a wish. May B come’. Foreign influence has probably just reinforced and expanded preexisting native patterns.


Karen Langgård (Nuuk, Greenland)Considerations about the extent of Danish impact on the morphology of Kalaallisut

After colonization of Greenland in 1721 missionary Hans Egede realized that the language of the mission should be Kalaallisut (the Inuit language spoken by Greenlanders). To Kalaallisut this meant an enormous domain gaining in order to cover not only the religious concepts of Christianity but also the biblical narratives emanating from a very different cultural and geographical setting.

After a short period where the most important key concepts like ‘God’, ‘holy’, ‘sin’ were kept as loanwords, all concepts got Greenlandic terms (except for some animals unknown in Greenland). However, since Hans Egede was called ’præst’ (=priest), we still have this word as a fully phonologically integrated word palasi in Kalaallisut to witness of the development from no capability back then to pronounce consonant clusters to the situation of the present day – e.g. vekselstrømmi from Danish vekselstrøm (i.e. alternating current) causing no pronunciation problems, – only integrated by adding ’i’ to make it a vowel noun stem ready to attach inflexion for case, person and number according to the paradigm for vowel noun stems.

Before 1953 few Greenlanders would know Danish – and Kalaallisut would absorb new concepts by creating new words in Kalaallisut for them. In 1953 Greenland was decolonized and became part of Denmark – and a vehement modernization and danification took place. In 1979 Greenland got Home Rule – and a greenlandification took place which still is going on – the general attitude being more or less puristic.

My paper will describe how the typological differences between Danish and the polysynthetic Kalaallisut keep the manifold derivation morphemes in Kalaallisut and the use of them almost untouched – drawing in too how code switching takes place among bilinguals. Tempus is not part of verb inflection – but an increasing use of derivation to denote past time will be seen as an impact from Danish (and English). Traditionally, the distinction was past+present versus future in Kalaallisut.

Further, I will describe how Danish stems are borrowed and adapted to fit into the Greenlandic declination and conjugation paradigms.  How and why many nouns and also quite many verb stems are borrowed, but very few adjectives. And finally how even complex expression like ‘sidste øjeblik’ (i.e. last minute) can be re-analyzed to produce a verb in Kalaallisut by adding ‘(V)r’:‘sidste øjeblikkerpoq’ (i.e. do-something-at-the-last-moment indic 3.p sing).

All elements are adapted to Kalaallisut, but what impact does the contact with much more analytical languages like Danish and English have on Kalaallisut? A decrease in number of derivation morphemes per word? When we find – especially in the language of the younger generation – a dropping of inflection for ergative case – is this phenomenon a languages-in-contact phenomenon?


Field, Fredric W 2002: Linguistic Borrowing in Bilingual Contexts. Studies in Language Companion Series. John Benjamins Publishing Company. Amsterdam/Philadelphia.

Langgård, Karen: Grammatical structures in Greenlandic as found in texts written by young Greenlanders at the turn of the millennium. IN: Mahieu and Tersis (eds) 2009.

Mahieu, Marc-Antoine and Nicole Tersis (eds) 2009: Variations on Polysynthesis. The Eskaleut languages. Typological Studies in Language 86. John Benjamins Publishing Company. Amsterdam/Philadelphia.

Muysten, Pieter 2000: Bilingual Speech. A Typology of Code-Mixing. Cambridge University Press.


Pilar Larrañaga (Bergische Universität Wuppertal)Determiners in early Basque and Spanish by bilingual Basque-Spanish children

We have examined the DPs of two bilingual Basque-Spanish male children from the age of approximately 1;09 to the age of 4 and compared their DP use to adult language. As regards the DP, Basque and Spanish differ substantially in the specification of the feature D. Whilst D must be instantiated by either a determiner or a quantifier in Basque, D can be zero in Spanish (see also Chierchia (1989:400). Moreover, the inner architecture of the DP is not similar. The upper outer projection in Spanish is the DP whereas the outer projection is the Agr (if we ignore case, KP) in Basque that hosts the number properties.1 More importantly, number is headed by D in Spanish, whereas number heads D in Basque. These three differences are crucial and, therefore, we expect to find language-specific acquisition patterns in bilingual children. The results show that the different syntactic structure in the languages at stake explains the outcome. Both children use DPs with determiners from the start onwards in Basque whilst they first use bare nouns in Spanish. Children´s language and adult language are very similar.

1We will ignore the numerals and quantifiers in prenominal position for the present paper.


Lastra Yolanda ()Recent changes in Chichimec

This language has suffered several phonological changes which affect the form of some grammatical morphemes.

In addition there has been a reduction in the use of one of the possessive classifiers.  Some of these changes have been described in Lastra (2009).

In addition, the verbal system is changing in the direction of Spanish. The immediate tense is losing ground among younger speakers and periphrastic tenses are incresing in use. In the paper a comparison will be made between the nominal and verbal morphology as described in Angulo (1932) and the present with particular emphasis on the on-going changes in the verbal system.


Angulo, Jaime de (1932). The Chichimeco language (Central Mexico).  International Journal of American Linguistics 7: 152–93.

Lastra, Yolanda (2009). Towards a study of language variation and change in Jonaz Chichimec. Stanford, James N. & Preston,  Dennis R. (eds). Variation in Indigenous Minority Languages. Amsterdam: Benjamins, pp. 153–171.


Michele Loporcaro (Zurich/Switzerland)Contact induced change in the system of personal pronouns: some Romance examples

The diachronic evolution of (stressed) personal pronouns from Latin to Romance has been characterized by neutralization of the inherited case contrasts. 1sg and 2sg pronouns  best resisted this paradigm reductions: in a few dialects, four - (e.g. Logudorese Sardinian) of three-way distinctions (e.g. Romanian, Sursilvan, Friulan) remained, whereas the paradigm mostly shrunk to just a binary contrast elsewhere (e.g. Spanish, Portuguese, Italian), occasionally suffering complete neutralization, as in e.g. Florentine or Catalan (in the latter, 2sg tu was extended to object-oblique functions, whereas a binary contrast was retained in the 1sg only). Standard Italian provides an example of the most widespread binary system:

(1) subject object /oblique
1sg io me
2sg tu te
1pl noi etc.

In this paper, I will focus on two Italo-Romance dialect areas, viz. Central-Southern and Sardinian dialects, which preserved richer pronominal paradigms (with a case contrast in 1sg and 2sg) until recently, and concentrate on varieties in which such paradigms are presently undergoing reduction (cf. Loporcaro 2006, 2009). The dialects considered have long been exposed to contact with (Florentine-based) standard Italian. Thus, the question arises whether this on-going reduction is due to contact with the standard language or to the long-term Pan-Romance drift. The most reasonable answer seems to be, rather unsurprisingly, that both played a role. In some specific cases, changes affecting the personal pronoun system must be put on the bill of contact with neighbouring Italo-Romance (sister-)dialects, rather than with the standard language. One such case is that of the northern Logudorese variety of Luras (Loporcaro 2009), in which personal pronouns underwent not only case but also gender-neutralization in the 3rd persons, a quite unusual development across Romance.


Loporcaro, Michele. 2006. Contatto e mutamento linguistico in Sardegna settentrionale: il caso di Luras. Revue de linguistique romane  70: 321–349.

Loporcaro, Michele. 2009. Sistemi pronominali nei dialetti del Meridione. In Alessandro De Angelis (ed.), I dialetti italiani meridionali tra arcaismo e interferenza. Atti del Convegno internazionale di Dialettologia (Messina, 4–6 giugno 2008), Palermo: Centro di Studi filologici e linguistici siciliani («Supplementi al Bollettino, 16»), 207–235.


Ana R. Luís (University of Coimbra)The survival and emergence of autonomous morphological structure in Indo-Portuguese

In this paper, we examine the presence of autonomous morphological structure in the verbal paradigm of Korlai Portuguese (KP). Spoken in the northwest coast of India, KP has emerged from the contact between two genetically unrelated languages, namely Portuguese (Romance) and Marathi (Indo-Aryan). Unlike the vast majority of the Romance-based creoles in Asia and Africa, verb forms in KP have preserved the internal morphological structure of the lexifier: by default, an inflected verb in KP comprises a root, a theme vowel and one tense/aspect suffix. Of crucial importance to us is the survival of the Portuguese conjugation classes and their corresponding theme vowels, which have remained visible to inflectional processes (e.g., first conjugation verbs take a theme-less stem in the past, and second conjugation verbs take an i-stem in the participle). Despite the absence of agreement endings, such stem-allomorphy clearly indicates that the verbal paradigm in KP has taken over morphomic properties from the lexifier (Aronoff 1994). The complete verbal paradigm is given in (1).


UNMARKED FORMS kant-a kum-e sub-i
sing-CL1.UNM eat-CL2.UNM go.up-CL3.UNM
'sing' 'eat' 'go up'
PAST FORMS kant-o kum-e-w sub-i-w
sing.CL1-PST eat-CL2-PST go.up-CL3-PST
'sang' 'ate' 'went up'
PROGRESSIVE FORMS kant-a-n kum-e-n sub-i-n
sing-CL1-PROG eat-CL2-PROG go up-CL3-PROG
'singing' 'eating' 'going up'
COMPLETIVE FORMS kant-a-d kum-i-d sub-i-d
sing-CL1-COMPL eat-CL3-COMPL go.up-CL3-COMPL
'sang' 'eaten' 'gone up'

Closer inspection, however, reveals that verbs which have been borrowed from Marathi fail to conform to the properties in (1). Instead, they contain a distinct -u vowel and have an unmarked past form:


UNMARKED FORMS badlu 'change' pislu 'get angry' samdzu 'understand'
PAST FORMS badlu 'changed' pislu 'got angry' samdzu 'understood'
PROGRESSIVE FORMS badlun 'changing' pislun 'getting angry' samdzun 'understanding'
COMPLETIVE FORMS badlud'changed' pislud 'got angry' samdzud 'understood'

Given that there is no morphosyntactic motivation underlying the systematic presence of the u-vowel, we argue that it constitutes in effect a theme vowel and that verbs of Marathi origin form a separate conjugation class. The fact that both the unmarked form and the past form display systematic syncretism in (2), but crucially not in (1), further supports our claim that KP has in effect a fourth conjugation class. So, although the origins of the -u theme vowel are still unclear, the data in (2) nicely shows that the emergence of new morphomic structure can indeed result from morphomic generalizations across sub-paradigms. The case of KP is also revealing from a typological perspective, because it shows that a new conjugation class can emerge for the marked integration of loan verbs.


ARONOFF, M. 1994. Morphology by itself. Mass.: MIT Press.

CLEMENTS, J. Clancy. 1996. The genesis of alanguage: The formation and development of Korlai Portuguese. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

MAIDEN,Martin. 2005. Morphological autonomy and diachrony. Yearbook of Morphology 2004: 137-75.

WICHMANN, S. & J. WOHLGEMUT. 2008. Loan verbs in a typological perspective. In: Thomas Stolz et al. (eds.), Romancisation World-Wide. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.


Makihara (Queens College, City University of New York)Rapa Nui and Spanish in contact: Borrowing, code-switching, and transfer/interference

Abstract: Rapa Nui, the East Polynesian language spoken on Easter Island, has been in contact with Spanish since the island was annexed to Chile in 1888. The language has been influenced enormously by Spanish through the development of community-wide bilingualism, the normalization of bilingual ways of speaking among Rapa Nui speakers, and the process of language shift.  Based on long-term ethnolinguistic research and the analysis of recorded speech, this paper examines different interlingual phenomena – borrowing, code-switching, and transfer/interference in both Rapa Nui and Spanish speech varieties.  While lexical borrowing and code-switching from Spanish are observed with high frequency in everyday Rapa Nui speech styles, morphological and other grammatical borrowings have remained limited.  Notwithstanding, the grammatical systems of the two languages can be said to be in contact as speakers negotiate between them in making linguistic choices.  Furthermore, a local variety of Spanish is characterized by lexical, morphological and other grammatical transfers.  Interestingly, this speech style, which originally developed as a result of second language acquisition strategies, has been cultivated by younger Rapa Nui speakers who are not bound by these constraints.  The paper also considers linguistic and non-linguistic factors contributing to Rapa Nui resistance to hispanization and the maintenance of this endangered language.


Antonietta Marra (University of Cagliari)Contact phenomena and morphology: some remarks about the lexicon of Molise Slavic

Prepositions, as many languages show (see among others Heine et al., 1991, and more recently Traugott/Dasher, 2002) are a very dynamic lexical category, as they often are the object of slow and deep lexicalization and grammaticalization processes. Frequently, these changes are more evident in adverbial prepositions, but they also occur in the formation of primary ones (see Manzelli, 1998).

As for other sections of a language system, also for prepositional forms changes can be favoured or emphasized by language contact. Furthermore, prepositions form a lexical category that is particularly interesting for language contact research, because they involve both the lexical level of the language system, as well as the morphosyntactic one, for the role they play in prepositional sentences.

In this paper I propose an analysis of some prepositions and prepositional phrases in a language contact context. Specifically, I will describe some forms of the Slavic of Molise, a minority language subject to deep influence by the Romance language varieties which it is in contact with, but still very rich and close to its Slavic origin from a morphological point of view.

I will present some new prepositional forms of this Slavic language, as well as the changes occurred in the functions of the old forms. Among the phenomena of the first type, we can find various loanwords (taken from the Romance varieties, first of all the dialect of Molise), which show different levels of semantic bleaching ad morphosyntactic integration into the Slavic system. The new forms are not always loanwords from Romance languages, even though these varieties always play, in some way, a role in the transformation processes. Among the phenomena of the second type, I will look at some uses extending old forms to new functional and syntactic contexts (e.g. the Croatian preposition do ‘to’, which assumes a very different meaning, following similar items in the Romance languages of contact, which is used in the Slavic of Molise to express motion, but in the opposite direction and specification/possess), and at some processes of grammaticalization of adverbial forms, which are used, today, also as prepositions (e.g. zgora ‘above, on’).

Considering the language contact context, conditions and possible hierarchies of transformation and ‘borrowability’ of the analysed items will be taken into account, paying attention also to the different types of prepositions and prepositional phrases according to the various semantic, functional and syntactic parameters (see Rizzi, 1988).

The discussion is based on a corpus that will permit to compare the oral productions of speakers of the Slavic minority language who belong to different age groups and show different use and competence of Slavic.


Heine, B./ Claudi, U./ Hünnemeyer, F. (1991) Grammaticalization. A conceptual framework, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago/London.

Manzelli, G. (1998) “Su e giù per monti e per valli: percorsi di grammaticalizzazione in area romanza, celtica, germanica, baltica e slava”, in Bernini, G./ Cuzzolin, P./  Molinelli, P. (a cura di). 1998. Ars Linguistica. Studi offerti da colleghi ed allievi a Paolo Ramat in occasione del suo 60o compleanno, Bulzoni, Roma, pp. 323–375.

Rizzi, L. (1988) “Il sintagma preposizionale”, in Renzi, L. /Salvi, G. /Cardinaletti, A. (a cura di), Grande grammatica di consultazione. I. La frase. I sintagmi nominale e preposizionale, Il Mulino, Bologna, pp. 521–545.

Traugott, E.C./ Dasher, R.B., 2002, Regularity in semantic changes, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.


Yaron Matras (University of Manchester)Formal and functional aspects of verb borrowing

Numerous studies have contested an early claim by Moravcsik (1978) that verbal elements cannot be directly borrowed. Nonetheless, it is still widely accepted that the borrowing of verbs is more “problematic” than that of nouns, adjectives, adverbs or other classes of content words. There also appears to be agreement that the borrowing of verbs is complicated by two principal factors: the potential morphological complexity of verbs, and, not least as a consequence of the former, considerable typological differences among languages in verbal morphology. As a result, languages tend to adopt a range of morphological adaptation strategies to accommodate borrowed verbs (cf. Myers-Scotton 1995, Muysken 2000, Wichman & Wohlgemuth 2008).

I will show that the various morphological adaptation strategies can be interpreted as a continuum ranging from full acceptance of the “verbness” of a borrowed lexeme, to the denial and consequent need to reconstruct its verbness. Adaptation morphology is in other words functional in establishing “verbness”. “Verbness ” in turn is the ability to act as the anchor for the predication of the utterance: the ability to contextualise it within the presuppositional domain of the communicative interaction. At the same time, it is the finite verb that signals, more than any other element in the sentence, accommodation to the context, setting or addressee-dependent constraints on code selection: To switch from Dutch to Turkish means to switch from a Dutch predication, anchored by a Dutch finite verb, to a Turkish one. It follows that borrowed verbs are points of potential ambiguity in respect of the base-language of the utterance. Borrowing the lexical component of a verb amounts to the transfer of the depiction of an action, state or event from one association world (“language”) into another (as in the replication of the concept downloaden in a German context). Verb integration strategies are there to ensure that this transfer is not confused with an initiation of the predication itself in the contact language. It enables a separation of functions in the verb: labelling an event on the one hand, initiating the predication on the other.


Felicity Meakins (The University of Manchester, UK)Post-colonial language contact and case-marking in Australian languages

Gurindji Kriol is spoken by the Gurindji people in northern Australia. It fuses Gurindji, which is a member of the Ngumpin-Yapa subgroup of the Pama-Nyungan family, with Kriol, which is an English-lexifier creole spoken across the north of Australia. Most of the NP structure is of Gurindji origin including case morphology. Gurindji Kriol case morphology bears a close resemblance to Gurindji, however contact and competition between Gurindji and Kriol in the process of the formation of the mixed language has altered the function and distribution of this system (Meakins 2007). In this paper, I examine four case markers within specific functional domains to demonstrate various contact outcomes including double-marking, convergence and functional shift. Specifically the dative marker marks possessive constructions, however the in/alienability distinction found in Gurindji has been lost (Meakins and O'Shannessy 2005); double marking of locations using the locative case marker and equivalent Kriol preposition is the emergent form of younger Gurindji Kriol speakers (Meakins 2007), convergence between Gurindji and Kriol has resulted in the extension of the Gurindji locative marker into goal marking under the influence of a general Kriol locational preposition (Meakins 2007), and finally the ergative marker's role in argument marking has been largely supplanted by word order and it now marks information structure (Meakins 2009; Meakins and O'Shannessy forthcoming). Similar patterns of change in case-marking have been observed for other postcolonial contact varieties in Australia including Light Warlpiri (O'Shannessy 2006), Wumpurrarni English (Disbray 2008), and youth versions of Dyirbal (Schmidt 1985) and Pitjantjatjara (Langlois 2004).


Disbray, Samantha. 2008. More than one way to catch a frog: Children’s discourse in a language contact setting. PhD Dissertation, Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne.

Langlois, Annie. 2004. Alive and kicking: Areyonga Teenage Pitjantjatjara. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

Meakins, Felicity. 2007. Case marking in contact: The development and function of case morphology in Gurindji Kriol, an Australian mixed language. PhD Dissertation, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne.

———. 2007. Moving targets: Variation and convergence in the expression of goal marking in Gurindji Kriol. Paper given at Association for Linguistic Typology Conference. Paris, France.

———. 2009. The case of the shifty ergative marker: A pragmatic shift in the ergative marker in one Australian mixed language. In The Role of Semantics and Pragmatics in the Development of Case., edited by J. Barddal and S. Chelliah. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Meakins, Felicity, and Carmel O'Shannessy. 2005. Possessing variation: Age and inalienability related variables in the possessive constructions of two Australian mixed languages. Monash University Linguistics Papers 4 (2):43-63.

———. forthcoming. Ordering arguments about: Word order and discourse motivations in the development and use of the ergative marker in two Australian mixed languages. In Lingua (Special Issue on Optional Ergativity), edited by W. McGregor and J.-C. Verstraete.

O'Shannessy, Carmel. 2006. Language contact and children's bilingual language acquisition: Learning a mixed language and Warlpiri in northern Australia. PhD, Department of Linguistics, University of Sydney, Sydney.

Schmidt, Annette. 1985. Young people's Dyirbal: An example of language death from Australia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Astrid Menz (Istanbul/Turkey)On contact-induced changes in Gagauz morphology

Gagauz is a Turkic language, genetically very close to Turkish. It has been spoken for an unknown length of time (probably some 600 years) in Bulgaria surrounded by Bulgarian and Turkish and since about 200 years in the Republic of Moldova dominated by Russian. In both varieties, Bulgarian and Moldovan Gagauz, traces of the linguistic influence of the surrounding Slavic languages are easily observable, in particular in lexicon and syntax. On the morphologic level traces of this influence are less common and less obvious. In my talk I will concentrate on two different features:

1. A case of global copying of a bound morpheme: the feminine suffix –(y)ka

Turkic languages have no grammatical gender. To explicitly refer to the sex of a person there are several lexical strategies:1

  1. some words are lexical reserved for a certain sex, especially kinship terms
  2. by attributing a noun like bayan ‘lady’, kız ‘girl’ kadın ‘woman’ to a head noun e.g. kadın şoför ‘chauffeuse’ and
  3. pseudo-morphologically by employing globally copied lexemes that contain feminine suffixes of the original languages, e.g. memure < Arabic, dansöz > French, kraliçe < Slavic. I call this strategy “pseudo-morphological” because the suffixes in question are not borrowed as such and can not be attached to nouns of Turkish origin.

In contrast to this last point we find a productive derivational suffix in -(y)ka to derive feminine forms from nouns, preferably denotations for nationalities, professions or kinship terms.  This is the only bound marker copied into Gagauz.  It can be attached to any word of any origin including etymologically Turkic ones. We thus find words like nemka ‘German (fem.)’ which we might judge at first glance as globally copied as a whole, alongside feminine forms derived from genuine Turkic nouns like saacı-yka ‘female milker’ < saacı ‘milker’ (possibly contracted from sa:-ıcı).  

2. A case of selective copying entailed by globally copied adjectives

Unlike Bulgarian and Russian, Gagauz as a Turkic language has no morphologically distinctive primary class of adjectives, see Braun & Haig 2000 and Johanson 2006.

There are some derivational suffixes that form words that function primarily as adjectives such as –li, -siz etc. In a noun phrase the adjective precedes the noun in its bare form, it does not agree in number or case. In the Moldovan variety of Gagauz we find a number of globally copied (from Russian) adjectives. There are two basic strategies to insert these adjectives into Gagauz (compare also the abstract of Mukhamedova with a quite parallel language contact situation).

1. The first one is the preferred strategy in the written language. Adjectives are copied from Russian in the nominative singular masculine form. This form is petrified; it does not change even if it is attributed to a globally copied Russian noun from a different gender class. The same insertion strategy can be also observed in the other Turkic languages of the former Soviet Union, see Baskakov 1960: 29 and Mukhamedova’s abstract.

2. The second strategy, restricted to the spoken language, is to re-analyze the stem of the adjective and drop the redundant agreement ending.

The first strategy is the more widespread one. With original Gagauz adjectives we can observe a tendency in the Moldovan variety to mark primary adjectives with an additional derivational suffix. The use of globally copied adjectives that bear an agreement marker and are thus overtly distinct from nouns could be understood as a motivation to create a morphological marker for the adjective as a word class.


Baskakov, N. A. 1960. The Turkic languages of Central Asia : Problems of planned culture contact. The Turkic peoples of the >USSR : The development of their languages and writing. Oxford.

Braun, Friederike 2000. Geschlecht im Türkischen. Untersuchungen zum sprachlichen Umgang mit einer sozialen Kategorie. (Turcologica 42) Wiesbaden.

Braun, Friederike & Haig, Geoffrey 2000. The noun/adjective distinction in Turkish: An empirical approach. In: Göksel, Aslı & Kerslake, Celia (eds.) Studies on Turkish and Turkic languages. (Turcologica 46) Wiesbaden.

Johanson, Lars 2006. Nouns and adjectives in South Siberian Turkic. In: Erdal, Marcel & Nevskaya, Irina (eds.) Exploring the eastern frontiers of Turkic. (Turcologica 60) Wiesbaden. 57–77.

Menz, Astrid 1999. Gagausische Syntax: Eine Studie zum kontaktinduzierten Sprachwande l. (Turcologica 41) Wiesbaden.

1A detailed analysis of the various strategies to mark gender in Turkish, see Braun 2000.


Raikhan Mukhamedova (University of Giessen)What happens to Russian Nominal Phrases when inserted into Kazakh? Some remarks on morphological integration strategies

Kazakh has been in close contact with Russian for more than two hundred years. This contact has passed through several stages (Xasanov 1976): In the first decades, the contact was loose,  Russian was used only by some Kazakh intellectuals. It grew somewhat closer during the time of Soviet Union because of russification policy of the government and mass immigration of Russian speaking population to Kazakhstan, until, finally, Kazakh lost some social domains and prestige in urban areas in Kazakhstan at the time of sovereignty. The intense contact between two genetically unrelated languages (Turkic/ Slavic) has caused a loss of competence in Kazakh by ethnic Kazakhs, especially in cities and a change in the structure of Kazakh. Some authors (Sulejmenova 1996: 179) assume a creolized form of Kazakh.

In this talk, I will show different morphological strategies in the speech of bilingual Kazakhs using Russian noun phrases in Kazakh speech. Examples are taken from tape recordings of bilingual Kazakhs made in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and from additional data of online forum texts.

Attention will be especially given to:

  • Gender strategy (Muhamedowa 2005): Kazakh, in contrast to Russian, does not have grammatical differentiation of gender. In Russian, the gender suffix is assigned to several categories (e.g. nouns, adjectives, ordinal numerals). When inserting Russian nouns into Kazakh sentences, the head noun looses its final vowel which signals number, gender and case (Muhamedowa 2006): škol (instead of škola (fem.) ‘school’), upravleni (instead of upravlenie (neutr.) ‘government’). This is a remarkable phenomenon since the word-final vowel contains the important morphological information of the Russian noun. When inserting Russian NPs with adjectival modifiers, a different regularity can be observed. Russian adjectives take one gender suffix, namely, the masculine suffix despite the feminine or neuter gender of the head of the NP, e.g. staryj (NOM.SG.MASC.) plošad’(NOM.SG.FEM.). From the perspective of standard Russian, such phrases are not well-formed. Apparently, the Russian masculine suffix -yj is reanalyzed as a general marker for Russian adjectives (Auer & Muhamedova 2005). It can be shown that the generalization of the gender suffix of Russian adjectives is not confined to Kazakh-Russian bilingualism but is quite regular in contact situations between Russian and some other Turkic languages, such as Uyghur (Muhamedowa 2006), Kirghiz (Krippes 1994), Uzbek (Chamidova 1985) as well as Finno-Ugric languages (Batori 1980), i.e. we are dealing with a widespread phenomenon of language contact, not with individual idiosyncratic cases.
  • Number strategy: In most cases, Russian nouns are inserted into Kazakh in singular form. The issue here will be Russian pluralia tantum which also undergoes some modifications. Since Kazakh does not have pluralia tantum, Russian insertions take singular form, e.g. sutka (SG) instead of sutki (‘the unit of a day and night’), pravoxranitel’nyj (SG) organ (SG) instead of pravoxranitel’nye (PL) organy (PL) ‘police/ security forces’. Russian syncretistic suffixes (here –ye by modifier and –i, -y by nouns), apparently, are not interpreted by bilinguals as carriers of number information.


Auer, P. & Muhamedova, R. 2005. „Embedded language“ and „matrix language“ in insertional language mixing: Some problematic cases. In: Italian Journal of Linguistics/ Rivista di linguistica 17 (1) (special issue Commutazione di codice e teoria linguistica, edited by Gaetano Berruto), 35–54.

Batori, I. 1980. Russen und Finnourgier – Zweisprachigkeit und Sprachwechsel. In: Peter Nelde (Hg.), Sprachkontakt und Sprachkonflikt. Wiesbaden: Steiner. 389–399.

Chamidova, S.M. 1985. Russkie slovarnye edinicy v uzbekskoj razgovornoj reči (k postanovke voprosa). In: Sovetskaja tjurkologija 1, 20–29.

Krippes, K., 1994. Russian Code-switching in Colloquial Uzbek, Kazakh and Kyrgyz. In: General linguistics 34 (3–4), 139–144.

Muhamedowa, R. 2005. Kasachisch-russisches Code-mixing: ein Fall von morphologischer Vereinfachung. In: Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 24, 263–309.

Muhamedowa, R. 2006. Untersuchung zum kasachisch-russischen Code-mixing (mit Ausblicken auf den uighurisch-russischen Sprachkontakt). München: Lincom. (Lincom studies in language typology 12.)

Sulejmenova, E. D. 1996. Kazaxskij i russkij jazyki: osnovy kontrastivnoj lingvistiki. Almaty: Demew.

Xasanov, B. 1976. Jazyki narodov Kazaxstana i ix vzaimodeistvie. Alma-ata: Nauka.


Immacolata Pinto (Cagliari/Italy)The influence of loanwords on Sardinian morphological processes

Over the last 40 years, morphology research has obtained important results (see Booij, Lehmann, Mugdan, Kesselheim, Skopeteas 2000-2004); however there is still no exhaustive reflection on the influence of mutual contact on morphological processes.

Our approach will on the one hand consider the different layers of the lexicon and on the other, according to Weinreich 1968 [1953], focus on the distinction between “simple words” and “compound words and phrases” in lexical interference.

Through an inductive method applied to Sardinian data we intend  to show a strong interrelationship between native word formation rules and loanwords under different aspects (see more or less productivity or borrowability of a rule, evidence for typological constraints on borrowability and so on).

In particular, our research regards the morphological effects on the Sardinian language caused by contact with Italian, Catalan and Spanish from the XI to the XVIII century. The corpus analysed has been obtained from Max Leopold Wagner’s 2008 [1960-64] Dizionario Etimologico Sardo (DES) of.

Our analysis wishes to evidence how loanwords have influenced the Sardinian lexicon and word formation in terms of quantity (i.e. percentage of native words vs. loanwords) and in terms of types of structures (i.e. percentage of simple loan words vs. derived and compounded loanwords) in order to compare our results with other research to contribute to a systematic study of a crosslinguistic study on word formation in a diachronic perspective and language contact.

As we have learnt from recent studies,  various factors have to be taken into account when analysing language contact (see Thomason, Kaufman 1988, Thomason 2001, 2007, Stolz 2006, 2008, Haspelmath 2008, Sakel, Matras 2008). However, our data show how word formation is a result of different combined factors in which contact plays an important role in a dynamic relationship between morphology and lexicon (see Gusmani 1986).

Moreover, apart from contingent factors (see genetic similarity, sociolinguistic conditions and so on) we will elaborate a “scale of borrowability” for the Sardinian language based on a consistent amount of data which may also be useful for comparisons to current-day interference (see contact between Sardinian and Italian from the XVIII to the XXI century).


Booij, G., Lehmann, C., Mugdan, J., Kesselheim, W., Skopeteas, S. (eds.) (2000-2004) Morphology. An international handbook on inflection and word-formation 2 voll., Berlin-New York, de Gruyter.

Gusmani, R. (1986) Saggi sull’interferenza linguistica, Firenze, Le Lettere.

Haspelmath, M. (2008) Loanword typology: steps toward a systematic cross-linguistic study of lexical borrowability, in T. Stolz, D. Bakker, R. Salas Palomo (eds.) (2008), 43-62.

Sakel, J., Matras, Y. (2008) Modelling contact-induced change in grammar, in T. Stolz, D. Bakker, R. Salas Palomo (eds.) (2008), 63-88.

Stolz, T. (2008), Romancisation world-wide, in T. Stolz, D. Bakker, R. Salas Palomo (eds.) (2008), 1-42.

Stolz, T. (2006), Contact induced typological change, in D. Stern, C. Voss (eds.) Marginal linguistic identities. Studies in Slavic contact and borderland varieties, Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz.

Stolz, T., Bakker, D., Salas Palomo, R. (eds.) (2008) Aspects of language contact: new theoretical, methodological and empirical findings with special focus on Romancisation processes, Berlin, Mouton de Gruyter.

Thomason, S. G., Kaufman, T. (1988) Language contact, creolization, and genetic linguistics, Berkley, University of California Press.

Thomason, S. G. (2001) Language contact, Washington, D.C., Georgetown University Press.

Thomason, S. G. (2007) Language contact and deliberate change, in Journal of Language Contact 1, 41-62.

Wagner, M. L.  (2008) [1960-1964] Dizionario Etimologico sardo (DES). A cura di G. Paulis, Nuoro, Illisso.

Weinreich, U. (1968) [1953] Languages in contact. Findings and problems, The Hague-Paris-New York, Mouton Publishers.


Angela Ralli (University of Patras)Morphology in Language Contact: Loanblend formation in Aivaliot

Languages in contact often exhibit borrowing, which is understood as the incorporation of foreign features and/or items into a group’s native language (Thomason 2001, Haspelmath 2008). The simplest borrowing is lexical, according to which the recipient language is maintained, but its lexicon is changed by the addition of the incorporated words. Haugen (1950) distinguishes three kinds of borrowed items: loanwords, whose form and meaning are copied in the recipient language, loanblends, words consisting of a copied part and a native part, and loanshifts, where only the meaning is copied.

From a theoretical morphological perspective, there is an open issue on how languages of distinct morphological typologies may affect each other in language-contact situations. More particularly, as far as loanblends are concerned, it is still not clear how they may be ‘accommodated’ within a recipient language, which is morphologically different from the donor.

In this presentation, Ι argue that the morphological adaptation of loans is mainly constrained by three factors: (i) the degree of intensity of socio-cultural contact in a language-contact situation (Thomason and Kaufman 1988); (ii) the recipient-language word-formation mechanisms, and (iii) the productivity of morphological patterns. To this end, I examine the nominal and verbal loanblends of Aivaliot, an Asia-Minor Greek dialect, which was spoken in the area of Kydonies (today’s Ayvalik in Northwest Turkey) till 1922, and is still in use in certain dialectal enclaves of the Greek island of Lesbos, inhabited by first, second, and third generation refugees (Ralli in preparation).

I show that Turkish loans are adapted to the Aivaliot morphology, following specific requirements, which are imposed by the most productive derivational and inflectional processes of Greek, but they are also constrained by features innate to the donor language, i.e. Turkish. In particular, I deal with base-driven morphological characteristics, such as stem allomorphy, inflection class, and gender, which play a major role in the formation of loanblends, and make Aivaliot a good candidate to be considered for language-contact morphological considerations.

I also argue that loanblend formation involving two typologically distinct languages, i.e. the agglutinative Turkish (donor) and the fusional Greek (recipient) help us confirm theoretical hypotheses about the importance of certain morphologically-proper processes and phenomena. Thus, it contributes to the discussion about morphology being an independent grammatical module.

Finally, with the help of Aivaliot data, and in accordance with Melissaropoulou (2009), I demonstrate that it is not particularly difficult for verbs to be borrowed, as opposed to claims that nouns are borrowed more easily than other parts of speech (see, among others, Moravcsik 1978).

Selected References:

Haspelmath, M. (2008). Loanword typology: Steps toward a systematic cross-linguistic study of lexical borrowability. In T. Stolz, D. Bakker & R. Salas Palomo (eds.) Aspects of Language Contact: New Theoretical, Methodological and Empirical Findings with Special Focus on Romancisation Processes, 43-62. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Haugen, E. (1950). The Analysis of Linguistic Borrowing. Language 26: 210–231.

Melissaropoulou, D. (2009). Loan Verb Adaptation: Evidence from Greek Dialectal Variation. Paper read at 4thInternational Conference of Modern Greek Dialects. Chios: June 11-14, 2009.

Moravcsik, E. (1978). Universals of Language Contact. In J. H. Greenberg et al. (eds.), Universals of Human Language, vol. 1 Method and Theory, 93-122. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Ralli, A. (In preparation). The Asia Minor Dialects of Kydonies (Aivali) and Moschonisia.

Thomason, S. (2001).Language contact. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Thomason, S. & T. Kaufman (1988). Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics. Berkeley: University of California Press.


Françoise Rose (Lyon/France)Borrowing of a Cariban plural marker into Tupi-Guarani languages

Tupi-Guarani languages are known for their great lexical and morphological similarity in spite of their wide geographical dispersion (Jensen 1999: 128). It is thus highly interesting to note that no plural morphology has ever been reconstructed for Proto-Tupi-Guarani (Dietrich 1990, Jensen 1998, Schleicher 1998). Tupi-Guarani languages individually developed some minor devices for number marking or use some indirect strategies, but less often a specific grammatical morpheme for plural. Surprisingly, Emerillon, a Tupi-Guarani language spoken in French Guiana, displays three different plural markers. One of them, -kom, is obviously a loan from some Cariban language, a language family also present in the area (Jensen 1979, quoted in Dietrich 1990; Couchili, Maurel et Queixalós 2002). Transfer of this morpheme also took place into Wayampi (Grenand 1980) and Jo'é (Cabral p.c.), two genetically close languages within the family.

The bulk of this paper is devoted to detailing the process of borrowing of the -kom form-meaning set into Tupi-Guarani languages first in terms of its phonological form, second, in terms of its very special distribution, third in terms of historical timing of the borrowing (based on internal evidence and socio-historical facts). A good evidence for the borrowing process is the very special distribution of the morpheme. The collective particle *komo reconstructed by Gildea (1998) for Proto-Caribe follows the possessed noun but indicates the number of the possessor. In some Cariban languages, its distribution is wider. In Emérillon, the clitic -kom maintained this very special distribution, although its function also extended to some other uses, like the plural of a possessed noun. Its specific meaning as plural or collective marker will also be discussed.

Emerillon has been borrowing items from various European languages, Creoles and other Native American languages (cf. Rose & Renault-Lescure 2008). Loans from Caribe languages are basically lexical items, for instance words for 'knife, gourd, beads'. The degree of interference of Caribe languages with Emerillon is around Stage 1 (casual contact), in terms of Thomason and Kaufman's  scale of borrowings (Thomason & Kaufman 1998). Yet –kom is the only bound morpheme that has been recognized as resulting from a loan. Several explanations can be put forward. First, Caribe and Tupi-Guarani languages are quite comparable in terms of morphological typology, so that there is no constraint on the possibility of borrowing from one language to the other (Field 2002). Second, the morphological status of the morpheme as a relatively loosely bound morpheme, phonologically robust and invariant form is usually associated with likeliness of tranfer (Weinreich 1953). The gap in the system of plural encoding and the semantic transparency of the plural marker (Matras 2007:44) may also have contributed to this unique borrowing process.


Couchili, T. , Maurel, D. and Queixalós, F., 2002, "Classes de lexèmes en émérillon", in Amerindia, Vol. 26/27, pp. 173-208.

Dietrich, W., 1990, "More evidence for an internal classification of tupi-guarani languages", in Indiana:Supplement 12.

Field, F., 2002, Linguistic Borrowing in Bilingual Contexts, Studies in Language Companion Series, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam/Philadelphia.

 Gildea, S., 1998, On Reconstructing Grammar: Comparative Cariban Morphosyntax, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Grenand, F., 1980, La langue wayãpi (Guyane française). Phonologie et grammaire, Langues et civilisations à tradition orale 41, SELAF, Paris.

Jensen, A., 1979, "Comparação preliminar das línguas Emérillon e Oiampí no seu desenvolvimento do Proto-Tupi-Guarani", in Arquivo Lingüstico N°135, SIL.

Jensen, C., 1998, "Comparative Tupí-Guaraní Morpho-syntax", in Handbook of Amazonian languages, Vol. IV, D. Derbyshire and G. Pullum (eds), Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 490-603.

Jensen, C., 1999, "Tupí-Guaraní", in The Amazonian languages, Vol. Chapitre 5, R. M. W. Dixon and A. Aikhenvald (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 125-163.

Matras, Y. 2007. "The borrowability of structural categories"in Grammatical borrowing in cross-linguistic perspective, Y. Matras and J. Sakel (eds.), Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 31-73

Rose, F. and Renault-Lescure, O., 2008, "Contact-induced changes in Amerindian Languages of French Guiana", in Aspects of language contact. New Theoretical, Methodological and Empirical Findings with Special Focus on Romancisation Processes, T. Stolz, R. Salas Palomo and D. Bakker (eds), Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 349-376.

Schleicher, C. O., 1998, Comparative And Internal Reconstrution of the Tupi-Guarani Language Family, University of Wisonsin - Madison, Ann Arbor.

Thomason, S. et Kaufman, T., 1988, Language Contact, Creolization and Genetic Linguistics, University of California Press, Berkeley.

Weinreich, U., 1953 (reed.1970), Languages in contact. Findings and problems, Mouton, The Hague/Paris.


Monika Rothweiler (University of Bremen)Case morphology in bilingual Turkish-German children

The present paper deals with the acquisition of Turkish case morphology in Turkish-German successive bilingual children. The main question is whether the acquisition of Turkish case morphology in children growing up in Germany is parallel to what is known from the acquisition of case morphology in Turkey. The acquisition of Turkish in monolingual settings shows that Turkish children can produce words with several morphemes at an early stage of their acquisition (around the age of 15 months), even at the one-word-stage (cf. e.g. Aksu-Koç & Slobin 1985). As Backus (2004) points out, the early acquisition of Turkish in a bilingual environment reveals the same patterns as in monolingual acquisition even though the emergence of certain morphemes can be delayed.

Our study investigates whether this also holds for Turkish case morphology in the contact situation with German. We present findings from the analysis of spontaneous speech data of three successive-bilingual children (L1 Turkish) between 2;5 and 6;6 years of age.


Jeanette Sakel (Bristol/UK)Spanish grammatical elements in Mosetén: borrowing of form and function

Mosetén (Mosetenan) is spoken by approximately 800 people in the foothills of the Bolivian Andes, an area that has changed considerably over the last 50 years: a large amount of Spanish-speaking farmers from the Andean highlands have settled in the area and trade with the highlands was established, facilitated by the construction of roads. Furthermore, an education system was set up, with Spanish as the language of instruction. While the Mosetenes had been in contact with European missionaries for several centuries prior to this, they were still primarily dominant in Mosetén. The changes outlined above, however, led to widespread bilingualism among the Mosetenes with Spanish prevalent in a wide range of domains. It is therefore not surprising that Spanish has influenced the Mosetén language in various ways. The most noticeable is extensive lexical borrowing, while there is also considerable borrowing at the morphosyntactic level.

Matras & Sakel (2007) distinguish between two types of loans, MAT (matter loans) and PAT (pattern loans). MAT is the borrowing of morphophonemic material from another language, while PAT is the copying of a pattern, while using native material to express this (i.e. a calque). Mosetén makes use of both of these types of loans in borrowing from Spanish, both at the lexical and grammatical levels (cf. Sakel 2007a, 2007b). MAT loans are usually not hard to find, in that they generally resemble the Spanish source in form and function and only experience a minor degree of phonological integration into Mosetén. PAT loans, on the other hand, are by definition more obscure and require a closer scrutiny. Mere resemblance with Spanish structures is not enough evidence for contact influence. Where possible, it is important to consider historical data on the language, as well as comparing the language to relatives outside the contact situation. For Mosetén, this is difficult because there are only very few old documents. Still, it is possible compare Mosetén to the only other Mosetenan language, Chimane, which is considerably less influenced by Spanish with widespread monolingualism in rural areas. Also, a comparison of the Mosetén language use across generations can give valuable clues as to how the language has changed.

My aim is to look in detail at two structures in Mosetén which I have so far suspected to be PAT loans:

  1. changes in the gender assignment: the unmarked gender changing from feminine to masculine and
  2. changes in the word order to more closely resemble the Spanish pattern.

I will be using the different methods outlined above to come to establish whether these should, indeed, be considered PAT loans.


Merle Schatz (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle)Contact induced language change in Inner Mongolia

I would like to present my research results on bilingualism (Chinese, Mongolian) and contact induced language change in Inner Mongolia.

Even though Chinese and Mongolian belong to two different language families (Sino-Tibetan and Altaic) with distinct typological systems, the contact situation between Chinese and Mongols in Inner Mongolia with diglossia (i.e. functional use of language) and bilingual education lead to code-switching in the vernacular language of the Mongols. New mixed Mongolian-Chinese word creations appear and linguistic transfer phenomena can be found in the phonology, morphology and on the lexical level. The Mongols in Inner Mongolia create their own Chinese according to the Altaic language type: without tones and with suffixes being added to a non existing Chinese verbal stem.


Karina Schneider-Wiejowski (University of Bielefeld)Language change on the basis of changes in productivity in derivational morphology in German

Grammaticalization is a cycling process. Existing lexical items are worn down, but at the same time new grammatical affixes are created.

Some German suffixes like –heit (Schön-heit “beauty”, Gesund-heit “health”) or –ung (Digitalisier-ung “digitalization”, Computerisier-ung “computerization”) are very productive because it is possible to create many (new) words with them. But there are also suffixes which do not account for word formation at all. Although there are existing lexicalized words like Schick-sal or Trüb-sal composed with the suffix –sal, this suffix would not create any new words because it is completely unproductive.

Derivational productivity is gradual. But claims about productivity of a given affix are often made categorically without any empirical evidence. This talk deals with the question of derivational productivity in German. Although there are a few studies regarding German suffixes and their productivity, it does not exist any big study for derivational affixes.

The question explored is whether there are changes in productivity of German suffixes during time. There are several possibilities of measuring morphological productivity, by counting frequencies (token and types) and to use probabilistic models. Both methods should be applied in this study. By using the DWDS, one of the biggest corpora for German written language, it is possible to examine a period of hundred years (1900-2000). It can be shown that there is a morphological change during the 20th century in standard German. Some suffixes become more productive whereas other suffixes lose their efficiency of building new words.

Another question that should be answered in this context is the question of grammaticalization. Is it possible to say that the more productive a suffix becomes the more advanced is its grammaticalization process? And what do we do with suffixes which lose their opportunity of building new words?


Christoph Schroeder (Potsdam/Germany)Yazgül Şimşek (Potsdam/Germany)The development of the “word” in Turkish Literacy Acquisition in Germany

Prior studies concerned with the language development of Turkish-German bilinguals and the linguistic strategies they use in spoken discourse confirm that the knowledge of both source languages allows the creation of new forms using structures of both languages in combination.

Current investigations on the writing skills of Turkish-German bilingual pupils in their first language Turkish, acquired either simultaneously or after literacy acquisition in German (Pfaff 2009, Schroeder 2007), reveal similar unique strategies and transfer of morphological and phonological rules in the process of writing.

While in both languages, the graphemic word is defined as a unit separated by blank spaces (Furhop 2008: 193), the phonological, syntactical and morphological words differ considerably between Turkish and German. Acquisition of the graphemic word in the process of the acquisition of the German and Turkish orthographies relies on different linguistic domains: German follows primarily morphological and syntactic patterns, while Turkish bases the graphemic word mainly on phonological properties (Kabak & Vogel 2001).

Given these differences we will concentrate in our presentation on how the analysis of the “word” in the writings of Turkish pupils in Germany emerges as a conflict between the different strategies the orthographical systems of the source languages base their graphemic word on.

Selected References:

Furhop, Nanna (2008): Das graphematische Wort (im Deutschen): Eine erste Annäherung. In: Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 27, 2, 189–228.

Kabak, Barış & Vogel, Irene (2001): The phonological word and stress assignment in Turkish. In: Phonology  18, 315–360.

Pfaff, Carol W. (2009): “Parallel assessment of oral and written text production: A pilot study of trilingual 12th graders in Berlin in Turkish L1, German L1.5 and English 1. FL”. Paper presented at the Conference on Kinder mit Migrationshintergrund. Aktuelle Forschungen zum Deutsch-als-Zweitsprache-Erwerb und zur Sprachförderung. Ludwigsburg.

Schroeder, Christoph (2007): Orthography in German-Turkish language contact. In: Fabienne Baider (ed.): Emprunts linguistiques, empreintes culturelles. Métissage orient-occident. (Sémantiques) Paris: l’Harmattan, 101–122.


Peter Siemund (SFB 538, Hamburg/Germany)Bernhard Brehmer (SFB 538, Hamburg/Germany)Language Contact and the Drift from Synthetic to Analytic: English and Polish in Contact with other Languages

Previously offered universalistic proposals for borrowing hierarchies (e.g., Weinreich 1953, Thomason/Kaufman 1988,  Romaine 1989, Durie & Ross 1996, Aikhenval'd & Dixon 2008) mostly agree on the fact that morphology, especially bound inflectional affixes, constitute one of the most difficult elements to borrow in language contact situations. This also holds true for contact varieties of English and Polish for which the direct borrowing of grammatical morphemes is largely unknown. Nevertheless, contact varieties of English and Polish offer rich evidence for more indirect contact induced changes in their morphologies, which result in a general drift from synthetic means of encoding grammatical information towards more analytic means. According to Ferguson (1982) such a simplification of morphological structures represents a typical outcome of contact situations making contact induced varieties more regular in so far as the relation between form and meaning becomes comparatively more transparent.

On the basis of contact varieties of English and Polish the talk will address the question which grammatical categories are primarily affected by this tendency and try to identify different stages in the development of this shift. Furthermore, it will ask to what extent the typological type of the languages in contact affects the degree of morphological simplification exemplified in a more analytic nature of expressing grammatical information. Thus, for instance, the replacement of isolated case forms by combinations of prepositions plus case forms can be considered a natural tendency in contact varieties of Polish (and is attested in the speech of monolingual Poles as well). However, it can be shown that contact with largely isolating languages (such as English) clearly supports not only this tendency, but also the preference for analytic means in other morphological domains.


Aikhenval'd, Aleksandra Ju. & Dixon, Robert M.W. (eds.) 2008. Grammars in Contact: A Cross-Linguistic Typology. Oxford etc.

Durie, Mark & Ross, Malcolm D. (eds.) 1996. The Comparative Method Reviewed: Regularity and Irregularity in Language Change. New York.

Ferguson, Charles A. 1982. Simplified registers and linguistic theory. In: Obler, L. & Menn, L. (eds.): Exceptional Language and Linguistics. New York: 49–68.

Romaine, Suzanne 1989. Bilingualism. Oxford.

Thomason, Sarah G. & Kaufman, Terrence 1988. Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics. Berkely.

Weinreich, Uriel 1953. Languages in Contact: Findings and Problems. The Hague.


Patrick O. Steinkrüger (Berlin/Germany)Frank Seifart (Regensburg/Germany) Transfer of derivational morphology without borrowing of stems

Derivational and inflectional morphemes are often transferred attached to lexical stems and then may be used with native stems at a later stage. However, this morphology may also be transferred more or less systematically in the absence of borrowing of stems. This paper contributes new data (also from our own fieldwork) and discussion of the investigation of these different cases, namely borrowing with and without borrowed stems. We also discuss morphological borrowing in multilingual contact situations, in particular the combinability with native stems or loans of affixes borrowed from a third language.


Thomas Stolz (Bremen/Germany)Partial and total reduplication as borrowable patterns

Given that reduplication is an almost ubiquitous phenomenon among the languages of the world, it is difficult to determine whether a reduplicative pattern has emerged independently in a given language or has been copied from a language in the neighbourhood (or elsewhere). In the extant literature, the fate of reduplicative patterns in language contact situations is only scarcely an issue. Bakker (2003) insists on the unproductiveness of reduplication in pidgins and argues that the abundance of grammatically employed reduplication in creoles cannot have originated from the prior pidgin stage. In Stolz (2008), I review a number of other claims according to which reduplication is exceedingly frequent in contact varieties of English with a Celtic adstrate/substrate. Most of these and other putative instances of borrowed reduplicative patterns are inconclusive at best because the evidence is such that the attested cases are also legitimate in those varieties of English (or Russian, for that matter) which have not been exposed to Celtic (or Turkic) influence. However, areally minded studies like Abbi (1992) and Stolz (2004, 2008) suggest that reduplicative patterns may spread and diffuse via language contact.

In my talk, I adduce evidence from numerous languages to discuss the possibility of reduplicative patterns being borrowed from one language into the other. I will show that partial reduplication and total reduplication behave very differently from each other when it comes to being copied in language contact situations. The higher degree of borrowability of total reduplication may be explained by various (conspiring) factors such as transparency but also omni-compatibility with all kinds of language structures.


Abbi, Anvita. 1992. Reduplication in South Asian Languages. An Areal, Typological and Historical Study. New Dehli, etc.: Allied Publishers.

Bakker, Peter. 2003. “The absence of reduplication in Pidgins.” In: Kouwenberg, Silvia (ed.), Twice as Meaningful. Reduplication in Pidgins, Creoles and other Contact Languages. London: Battlebridge, 37-46.

Stolz, Thomas. 2004. “A new mediterraneanism: word iteration in an areal perspective. A pilot-study.” Mediterranean Language Review 15, 1-47.

Stolz, Thomas. 2008. “Total reduplication vs. echo-word formation in language contact situations.” In: Siemund, Peter & Kintana, Noemi (eds.), Language Contact and Contact Languages. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 107-32.


Sviatlana Tesch (Oldenburg/Germany)Jan Patrick Zeller (Oldenburg/Germany)The interaction between morphological and phonic variation in Byelorussian-Russian language contact

In their initial stages, “mixed” speech varieties which arise due to the contact of closely related and structurally similar languages or dialects show a high amount of variation both on the morphological and the phonic level. This variation as well as the principles underlying its relative regularity have been the subject of numerous studies in the Labovian tradition which are often – implicitly or explicitly – concerned with the interaction of different variables  observable within the scope of the speaker, the speaker group or the speech situation. However, there are rather few studies which treat the interaction of different variables within the scope of small units such as the words.

In our talk, we will address the interaction of morphological and phonic variation in Byelorussian-Russian mixed speech (the so-called Trasjanka). It will be shown that on the level of word form there is an interaction between its morphological and phonic (phonetic and surface phonological) “affiliation” to one of the languages involved in this contact situation, and that this interaction is influenced both by the type of morpheme (root, ending) and by the age level distribution of  speakers.


Mauro Tosco (University of Turin)Swinging the pendulum: Italianization and De-Italianization through Frenchization in Piedmontese morphology

Piedmont (northwestern corner of Italy) displayed traditionally a very rich linguistic picture, where different Romance varieties met, both on the horizontal and the “vertical” axis – with resulting complex patterns of diglossia and multilingualism. This picture involved the presence of Piedmontese, Occitan, Franco-Provençal, and various Gallo-Romance varieties on the fringes of the territory; vertically, Italian and French were the target of diglossia and bi-/multilingualism. Moreover, Piedmontese evolved over the centuries a koiné extensively used by speakers of different local dialects in belletristic literature and, to a limited extent, “high prose.”

The obvious linguistic impoverishment brought about by the formation of a national state is reflected in Piedmont in the gradual erosion of this linguistic wealth:

  1. Italian became the only high variety;
  2. knowledge of “Piedmontese” (i.e, the koiné) became less and less useful and therefore common, with the koiné itself bwing increasingly perceived as “the dialect of Turin” (while in Turin itself Piedmontese has almost disappeared nowadays);
  3. knowledge of the local variety persisted and still, to a certain extent, continues today;
  4. French simply became a foreign language.

While Piedmontese shares with neighboring varieties a great number of isoglosses, its greatest originality lies obviously in its lexical stock, which teems with items borrowed from French at different historical periods, and other words not found in the Italian cultural area. Morphological evidence of contact is as usual much more difficult to detect, also because all the varieties are genetically close. A certain amount of morphological Italianization is nevertheless evident in the literary production stemming from the XIXth century, as will be shown in the presentation.

An interesting counter-development detailed in the presentation is witnessed today in the efforts in revitalizing the language. Consciously trying to develop Piedmontese – a koiné rapidly being reduced to the status of a dying dialect – into a modern medium, the logical step has been taken to increase as much as possible its distance from Italian. The equally logical means to do so has been to revert to Frenchization. The Ausbauization of Piedmontese involves therefore the selection of a neighboring foreign language in order to increase the distance from the dominating medium.

This is reflected not only (and most conspicuously) in the lexical choices, but also in the phraseological enrichment and, to a certain extent, the morphology of neologisms. While the process often involves the resurrection of obsolete words, in morphosyntax this leads to the analogical extension of (mainly derivational) morphemes well beyond their original domain, often resulting in “fake” French loans and constructions.


Martine Vanhove (Villejuif/France)Root and pattern schema in Beja (Cushitic): the issue of language contact with Arabic

It is well known that most of the languages of the Semitic genus (Afroasiatic) have a synchronic conspicuous consonantal root system and that the structure of the lexicon, for both verbal and nominal items, is organized in root and pattern schemas, which determine semantic and functional word classes, a morphological system quite rare cross-linguistically. Pattern schemas constitute a close inventory. They are made of a qualitative or quantitative ablaut of the vowels infixed in the root, to which affixes can be added, often involving restructuring of the syllabic structure of the lexical item.

Such a structure is to a lesser extent also characteristic of a few languages of the Cushitic stock of Afroasiatic along the Red Sea coast (namely three: Beja, Afar and Saho), as opposed to other Cushitic languages in which the root and pattern schema is residual (or incipient), and most often absent. The existence of the root and pattern schema, although a genetic feature, could be an areal feature differentiating the Red Sea zone from the rest of Afro-Semitic and Cushitic (see Simeone-Senelle & Vanhove 2006), and particularly pervasive in Beja. Still, in Africa, this structure concerns only a part, more or less important, of the lexical organization, and (contra Tosco 2000: 344) cannot be considered as ‘Semitic-biased’. This paper will present a discussion of the root and pattern schema in Beja, a North Cushitic language mainly spoken in Sudan, in the light of a possible influence of Arabic, a language with which Beja has been in contact for centuries.

Examples of pattern schemas:

Nomen actionis:
bir ‘to snatch’, baar ‘snatching’; kitim ‘to arrive’, kituum ‘arriving’; dir ‘to kill’, ma-dar ‘murder’, ma-door ‘murder(ous)’.
Place & instrument names:
ginif ‘to barrack’, mi-gnaf ‘camp’; himi ‘to cover’, me-hímmeey ‘blanket’; ’afi ‘to prevent, secure’, m-’afay ‘nail, rivet, fastener’.
Agent nouns:
bir ‘to snatch’, boor-aana; kitim ‘to arrive’, kaatm-aana or kaatim-i.
book, pl. bak ‘he-goat’; asil, pl. asuul ‘blister’; ganay, pl. ganeey ‘gazelle’; dhaar, pl. dhar ‘landmark’; hasaal, pl. hasal ‘bridle’; dhaar, pl. dhár-a ‘landmark’; hasaal, pl. hasál-a ‘bridle’.
idif ‘he went’, indiif ‘he goes’; iktim ‘he arrived, kantiim‘he arrives’, iktimna ‘they arrived’, eekatimna ‘they arrive’.
Intensive verbal derivation:
bis ‘to bury’, INT. boos; dir ‘to kill’, INT. daar; birir ‘to spill’, INT. baarir.


Simeone-Senelle, Marie-Claude & Vanhove, Martine. 2006. Is there a Red Sea linguistic area? Annual Publication in African Linguistics 4, p. 31–67.

Tosco, Mauro. 2000. Is there an ‘Ethiopian language area’? Anthropological Linguistics   42/3, p. 329–365.


Elisabeth Verhoeven (Bremen, Germany)Stavros Skopeteas (Potsdam, Germany)Vowel harmony and noun inflection in Caucasian Urum

Urum is a Turkic language spoken by ethnic Greek speakers in Southeastern Ucraine (Donec’k region) and in the Caucasus (Georgia). The language is very poorly documented and nowadays strongly endangered. Previous literature assumes that Urum developed from the Crimean Tatar language to which a subgroup of Crimean Greeks switched in the 18th century without mentioning any substantial difference among the Urum spoken in Ucraine and the Urum spoken in the Caucasus (see Podolsky 1986).

Our talk presents original data from the Caucasian variety of Urum (spoken in the Tsalka district of Georgia). This data shows that this (alleged) variety of Urum is different from the Tatar language documented in Ucraine. The linguistic properties of Caucasian Urum have strong affinities to Turkish and not to Tatar, which is in line with the historical evidence about the provenience of the Caucasian Urum people from Anatolia (and not from the Crimean Peninsula).

In particular, we examine data concerning the vowel harmony in Urum. As many Turkic languages, Caucasian Urum displays rules of vowel harmony which affect the whole derivational and inflectional morphology of the language. In this paper, we concentrate on the inflectional morphology of the noun and show in how far it deviates from Turkish as a result of an independent development in a different linguistic environment.

Three phenomena can be observed in Caucasian Urum noun inflection: (a) preservation of harmony rules; (b) partial opacity; (c) complete opacity. Rule preservation applies to so-called A-type suffixes in Turkish (see Göksel and Kerslake 2005: 23) such as the dative suffix -(y)A, the locative suffix -DA, the ablative suffix ‑DAn, and the plural suffix -lAr. Partial opacity holds true for some of the so-called Turkish I‑type suffixes. The realization of the genitive is invariably -(n)ın following syllables containing the front and back unrounded vowels /i/, /e/, /ı/ and /a/, while the rounding harmony is still intact distinguishing between the front rounded and the back rounded vowels. Complete opacity applies to the following suffixes: The accusative suffix is invariably -i. The third person possessor agreement suffix on the possessum noun is ‑(s)i in word final position. If however a further (possibly vowel initial) suffix is following, it is invariably -(s)ın. Based on evidence from complex cases of suffixation we argue that opacity appears on the right edge of the harmony span, i.e., applies with priority to the rightmost suffixes of the word.

Possible reasons for the fact that several inflectional morphemes became opaque to vowel harmony may be found in the fact that the language heavily borrowed lexemes from surrounding languages, especially Russian (and Georgian) which did themselves not follow harmonic rules, as do native stems of Turkish origin in general


Göksel, A & Kerslake, C. 2005, Turkish. A Comprehensive Grammar. London & New York: Routledge.

Podolsky, B. 1986, Notes on the Urum language. Mediterranean Language Review 2, 99–112.


Lenka Zajícová (Palacky University, Olomouc)Language contact, language decay and morphological change: Evidence from the speech of Czech immigrants in Paraguay

The paper examines the differences in contact-induced morphological changes in the speech of members of Czech immigrant community in Paraguay, the representatives of the first, second and third generations of immigrants. As the most of the community shifted to Spanish several decades ago and the transmission of Czech ceased, very different degrees of proficiency can be found here: from fluent bilingual speakers in the older generations through rusty speakers (Menn 1989) to semi-speakers (Sasse 1992a) and cultural rememberers (Campbell & Muntzel 1989) in the younger generations, caused by very different individual acquisitional histories.

While in the first generation the changes on morphological level are very seldom, basically only several examples of analogical changes triggered by the language contact situation can be found, in that part of the second generation that is still bilingual, the lexical borrowing during which both nominal and verbal stems are phonologically and morphologically integrated is the most frequent strategy in the coping with vocabulary retrieving problems. Most of these results would be found in normal language contact situation, but some less frequent phenomena are present too, like code-switching on the bound morpheme limit (e.g. Czech negation preffix and Spanish verb).

In the youngest generation, semi-speakers are the majority and language attrition is the principal factor of the morphological change, and the complete disintegration of the morphological system (agrammatism, Sasse 1992b) can be observed in those in advanced stages of language decay. This affects especially the elaborated Czech nominal morphology.

In accordance with the concept of qualitative difference between the results of language contact and language attrition, as stated by Sasse (1992) and Thomason (2001), and the distinction of language agentivity, as affirmed by Van Coetsem (1988) and Winford (2005), the paper aims at establishing the typology of morphological change typical for and possible in the different stages of language forgetting in this specific Czech-Spanish contact situation. Though the variation of results is high, some types have not been found so far either in rusty speakers, or in semi-speakers (e.g. transfer of Spanish inflectional morphemes), confirming - at least for this kind of contact and decay situation - the constraints established previously in borrowing hierarchies (e.g. Weinreich 1953, Thomason & Kaufman 1988, cf. Wilkins 1996). My analysis is based on the speech of 50 members of the immigrant community recorded during the fieldwork in 2007 and 2008 in Paraguay.


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Menn, Lise (1989): Some peaple who don't talk right: Universal ad particular in child language, apahasia, and language obsolescence. In: Investigating obsolescence: Studies in language contraction and death. Ed. Nancy C. Dorian. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 335–345.

Sasse, Hans-Jürgen (1992a): Theory of language death. In: Language Death. Ed. Matthias Brenzinger. Berlin/New York: Mounton de Gruyter, 7–30.

Sasse, Hans-Jürgen (1992b). Language decay and contact-induced change: similarities and differences. In: Language Death. Ed. Matthias Brenzinger. Berlin/New York: Mounton de Gruyter, 59-80.

Schmid, Monika S. (ed.) (2004): First language attrition: Interdisciplinary perspectives on methodological issues. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Thomason, Sarah Gray (2001): Language contact. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Thomason, Sarah Gray & Kaufman, Terrence (1988): Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Van Coetsem, Frans 1988. Loan phonology and the two transfer types in language contact. Dordrecht: Foris.

Weinreich, Uriel (1953): Languages in contact: Findings and problems. New York: Linguistic Circle of New York (8th printing. The Hague: Mouton, 1974).

Wilkins, David P. (1996): Morphology. In: Contact Linguistics: An International Handbook of Contemporary Research. Vol. I. Ed. Hans Goebl, Peter H. Nelde, Zdeněk Starý and Wolfgang Wölck. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 109–117.

Winford, Donald (2005). Contact-induced changes: Classification and processes. Diachronica 22.2, 373–427.

Zajícová, Lenka (2009): Grammatical changes in Czech spoken by the immigrant community in Paraguay: first examples. In: Vykypěl, Bohumil/Boček, Vít (eds.): Recherches fonctionnelles et structurales 2009. München: LINCOM Europa, 139–150.