Intermingling speech groups

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This paper investigates the outcomes of contact-induced language change in two neighboring speech groups (Pana and Northern Samo) in an African multilingual setting. It describes the historical and social conditions of the area as a prerequisite for the understanding of linguistic contact processes. The typological fingerprints of the languages then establish the background for understanding linguistic changes. It demonstrates that morpho-syntactic elements such as negation, copula and focus constructions, phrase-final plural, and definiteness marking are in part the result of contact in this complex setting. Finally, it proposes a possible scenario that accounts for the different contact-induced features and also raises the question of the significance of extra-linguistic parameters for a theory of language contact.


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