Mechanisms of change in areal diffusion: new morphology and language contact

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2003) Mechanisms of change in areal diffusion: new morphology and language contact. Journal of Linguistics , 39 (1). pp. 1-29.

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Abstract

Borrowing, or diffusion, of grammatical categories in language contact is not a unitary process. In the linguistic area of the Vaupe´s in northwest Amazonia, several different mechanisms help create new contact-induced morphology. Languages which are in continuous contact belong to the genetically unrelated East-Tucanoan and Arawak families. There is a strong cultural inhibition against borrowing forms of any sort (grammatical or lexical). Language contact in the multilingual Vaupe´s linguistic area has resulted in the development of similar – though far from identical – grammatical structures. In Tariana, an Arawak language spoken in the area, reanalysis and reinterpretation of existing categories takes place when diffusion involves restructuring a pre-existing category for which there is a slot in the structure, such as case. A new grammatical category with no pre-existing slots may evolve via grammaticalization of a free morpheme – this is how aspect and aktionsart marking was developed. The development of a five-term tense-evidentiality paradigm involves a combination of strategies : reanalysis with reinterpretation accounts for the obligatory tense marking,and the history of visual, inferred and reported evidentials. The nonvisual evidential evolved via grammaticalization of a lexical verb while the most recent, assumed, evidential involves reanalysis and reinterpretation of an aspect marker and grammatical accommodation.

Item ID: 2143
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
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ISSN: 1469-7742
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2010 04:09
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200407 Lexicography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950203 Languages and Literature @ 100%
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