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Language Contact


Language Contact

This course considers the phenomenon of language contact from both structural and sociocultural angles. We will investigate the processes and patterns involved in lexical and structural borrowing, the formation of new contact varieties such as creoles and mixed languages, and the role of contact in driving and shaping language change. We will take a close look at the dynamics of specific contact zones, most notably the Vaupés region of the northwest Amazon. In the process, we will consider the role of discourse strategies and norms, bilingualism, code-switching, and particular sociocultural practices in determining the nature of the contact that takes place and its effects on the languages involved. How do shared narrative genres transport features across language boundaries? How do practices like linguistic exogamy (marriage outside the language group) influence the dynamics of language contact? Why might speakers assimilate one kind of feature from a neighboring language into their speech, and not another? 

Course Status: Closed

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Four-week Session


1:10 pm-3:00 pm
1:10 pm-3:00 pm



None, but an intro course in linguistics is recommended.