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Borrowing of Inflectional Morphemes in Language Contact


Francesco Gardani

This book is about the borrowing of inflectional morphemes in language contact settings. This phenomenon has at all times seemed to be the most poorly documented aspect of linguistic borrowing. Contact-induced morphological change is not rare in word formation, but exceptional in inflection. This study presents a deductive catalogue of factors conditioning the probability of transfer of inflectional morphology from one language to another and adduces empirical data drawn from Australian languages, Anatolian Greek, the Balkans, Maltese, Welsh, and Arabic. By reference to the most advanced theories of morphology, a thorough analysis of the case studies is provided as well as a definition of inflectional borrowing according to which inflectional borrowing must be distinguished from mere quotation of foreign forms and is acknowledged only when inflectional morphemes are attached to native words of the receiving language.


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IV Case studies


This chapter will present several case studies of contact situations in which bor- rowing of inflectional morphemes has occurred. It is organised as follows. Each section will provide an overview of the overall sociolinguistic situation of the contact setting. This will comprise, whenever available, information about the multilingual society, the number of speakers, the degree of the societal multilin- gual competence, intermarriage, status as well as prestige of the involved languages. This will be followed by the presentation of the actual data on inflec- tional borrowing. It is not sensible to present the case studies following merely linguistic cri- teria (such as replacement vs. addition, moderate vs. heavy borrowing, or productive vs. non productive morphemes) since this would mean repeating the information about the sociolinguistic context. Nonetheless, the presence or ab- sence of productivity may approximately be recognised by the order of presentation of the case studies: the cases presented first show a greater degree of productivity than the following ones. Three of the case studies presented concern borrowings that have devel- oped in the Arnhem Land Sprachbund, further five cases have developed in the Balkan Sprachbund. Therefore, sections 4.1 and 4.3 will be devoted to a brief outline of the Arnhem Land and Balkan linguistic areas respectively. Eventually, 4.6 will be aimed at the case of some Arabic dialects spoken in Uzbekistan. No description of the sociolinguistic context will be presented since no data is avail- able for this particular setting. The case of the dialect of Denno illustrated...

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