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Areal Convergence in Eastern Central European Languages and Beyond


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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Prepositions in the Melting Pot: High Risk of Infection. Language Contact of German in Austria with Slavic Languages and Its Linguistic and Extra-Linguistic Description


Abstract: This paper investigates the (re-)construction of language myths in the linguistic and extra-linguistic discourse on language contact of German in Austria with Slavic languages. In a first step, it theoretically argues that individual language contact phenomena, such as various constructions with prepositions, may be items in the discourse archive of a superordinate language ideology. Through the analysis of the discourse on such language contact phenomena from the 19th to the early 21st century, this paper uncovers the underlying language myths that each tribe/nation has its own language (predominant in the 19th and early 20th century) and the one of the Habsburg monarchy as a linguistic melting pot (predominant after World War II). Additionally, the paper shows, how both myths are connected to an almost identical set of topoi, which are re-evaluated in the discourse after World War II.

In a second step, this paper analyses individual language contact phenomena as language myths on their own, i.e., as reference points for common narratives. It observes the same processes of re-evaluation and proposes metalinguistic methods of historical contextualisation to exploit the linguistic and extra-linguistic discourse as the starting point for modern contact linguistic investigations and evaluations of the described contact phenomena.

Keywords: language contact, language myth, Habsburg monarchy, linguistic convergence, argument structure, PP-objects

1 Introduction1

Throughout at least the last 200 years, language has frequently been used to construct individual and group-specific, often “national” identities. In many cases, these identification...

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