Reassessing Contact Linguistics - Signposts Towards an Explanatory Approach to Language Contact
Ermenegildo Bidese
October 2017

This contribution aims to clarify some fundamental issues concerning contact linguistics, by (a) defining language contact, (b) distinguishing between investigation levels and (c) presenting the methodology of this particular explanatory approach to the analysis of contact linguistics phenomena. The perspective, from which I address the questions above, is largely atypical within the field of contact linguistics. It starts from the well-known distinction between E- and I-language introduced by Chomsky (1986) and draws up a linguistic model of the internal principles and rules (I-Grammar) that govern the combination and recombination of abstract linguistic features from different languages in both the mind of the bilingual person and the grammatical system of a bilingual community. I present data from Cimbrian, a German-based minority language still spoken in Northern Italy, which is a key-study for contact linguistics, since it has been evolving under pressure from Italian and Romance dialects for many centuries. The contact phenomena are analyzed both from the perspective of the whole grammatical system, which is shared by the entire population of speakers, and from the perspective of the gram-matical innovations so far made by very few speakers, which may, nevertheless, represent possible future developments of the Cimbrian grammar.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004844
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Bidese, Ermenegildo (2017). Reassessing Contact Linguistics. Signposts Towards an Explanatory Approach to Language Contact. Zeischrift für Dialektologie and Linguistik LXXXIV(2-3), 126–151.
keywords: contact-linguistics, i-language-perspective, cimbrian syntax, complementizer system, complementizer borrowing, verb-second., syntax
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