Variation and change in contact settings
This paper introduces two linguistic fields dealing with language change: contact linguistics and sociolinguistic research on variation. It argues that although there is no language change without variation, linguistic variation is still an opaque area, a blind spot, for most contact-induced language change studies. The role of variation in changes occurring in multilingual settings has not been much discussed in the literature and the exact role and interplay of the notions of ‘variation’, ‘change’ and ‘contact’ have not yet been fully explored. This paper proposes to examine more precisely the relationship between variation and change in language contact settings.