LING-445 Language Contact
Spring for 2017-2018
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This course considers Language Contact from linguistic and anthropological perspectives. While languages have always been in contact with each other through social interaction and speaker multilingualism, the linguistic effects of globalization and economically driven migrations make this study especially relevant for contemporary linguistics and anthropology. We will consider what happens to languages in contact and in what ways the history of contact and the social relations, beliefs, behavior and attitudes of the speakers in contact can influence the structure of the languages and of speech practices in global regions. We will consider institutionalized multilingualism and code switching, diverse and superdiverse language ecologies, the borrowing of words, and the influence of grammatical systems mediating and affected by language contact relations. We will study the emergence and structure of pidgin and creole "contact" languages, examine contact-induced language change, language endangerment and language loss, and discuss new methods of computational phylogenetics and network analysis. Through our focus on language contact this course will shed light on a variety of social, cultural, and cognitive universals of human experience as well as detail the variation of particular histories and social responses to ethnic, colonial, state, and market driven interactions between cultures.

The goal of this seminar is to engage the study of language contact—a study that blends linguistic analysis with sociocultural description. This course will cover the theoretical and methodological breadth of language contact, stressing the importance of history, ideology and social relations to historical linguistics.

Thomason, Sarah. 2001. Language Contact: An Introduction. Georgetown University Press.
Blommaert, Jan. 2010. The Sociolinguistics of Globalization. Cambridge University Press.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: enrollment limited to juniors, seniors, and graduate students, or permission from the instructor
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