Article published in:The Interplay of Variation and Change in Contact Settings
Edited by Isabelle Léglise and Claudine Chamoreau
[Studies in Language Variation 12] 2013
► pp. 199–228
The interplay of language-internal variation and contact influence in language change
In this paper, evidence is presented for the important role played by language-internal variation in situations of contact-induced change. Such language-internal variation can function in two ways, through “frequential copying” on the one hand and “contact-induced exaptation” on the other. In frequential copying, an infrequently used construction in the recipient language can increase in frequency and ultimately even become the norm, if there is a similar construction in the model language. In contact-induced exaptation, constructional variants that differ in meaning from the default construction can provide the material basis for the grammaticalization of new constructions. This interplay of internal variation and external influence is exemplified with data from several northern Eurasian languages.
Keywords: contact-induced exaptation, frequency, frequential copying, language-internal variation, northern Eurasian languages
Published online: 12 March 2013
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