Assessing the impact of translations on English-German language contact

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Translations have been widely described as one source of language contact phenomena in language maintenance situations. In particular the impact of English on German by translation is a topic of ongoing research interest. The present article reviews the place of translations in the study of language contact and discusses two different methodological approaches to determining causal explanations for an assumed influence of translations on target language original text production. We discuss the limitations of corpus-based studies in providing evidence for a direct effect of translations on original text production in the target language. An alternative experimental approach focussing on cognitive processing during text production is shown not to overcome the limitations of corpus studies. The paper therefore argues for a different approach drawing on various methods that may help control confounding factors.


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