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Areal Convergence in Eastern Central European Languages and Beyond

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Edited By Luka Szucsich, Agnes Kim and Uliana Yazhinova

This book assembles contributions dealing with language contact and areal linguistics. The goal of the book is to investigate linguistic convergence in Europe with a strong focus on the languages of Eastern Central Europe which show many remarkable similarities. The focus is put on a methodical and empirical component in the investigation of two or more languages in the context of possible language contact phenomena. Languages of Eastern Central Europe and adjacent parts of Europe use a considerable amount of common vocabulary due to the transfer of loanwords during a long period of cultural contact. But they also share several grammatical features—phonological, morphological and syntactic ones. This book tackles lexical and grammatical phenomena in language contact situations. The authors take up diachronic, synchronic and language acquisitional perspectives, and discuss methodological problems for the field.

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Central European Languages as a Complex Research Issue: Summarising and Broadening the Research Foci

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Abstract: This paper examines the foci of research on Central European languages (German, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Hungarian, Croatian, and Slovene) and their convergence. It summarises the orientation of the research on this topic, illuminates the current shift in the orientation and outlines some propositions regarding its future orientation. Several main domains of the research are distinguished: the structural domain, the lexical domain, the phraseological domain, and the domain of language contact and language policy. In the section on the structural domain, a bibliographical overview on the topic of the idea of the Central European linguistic area (also called the Danube Sprachbund) is provided.

Keywords: linguistic convergence, Central Europe, theories of language contact, language change, Danube Sprachbund

1 Introduction1

The goal of this paper is to examine the foci of research on Central European languages (CEL)2, i.e., of the research that aims to compare them and trace their convergence. On the one hand, the paper summarises the orientation of the research on this topic as it was conducted in the past decades. On the other hand, it illuminates the ongoing shift in the orientation and formulates some propositions concerning its future orientation.

The first question that arises is: What are CEL? One of the most common ways to search for the answer to this question, naturally, is to derive it from the answer to the question: What is Central Europe (CE)? The problem, however, is that there is no definite...

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