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Chapter 11. Grammatical borrowing and language change

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Abstract

In this paper we would like to address the very old problem of grammatical borrowing. We will discuss this problem within the context of minority language studies. Is it possible that the grammatical system of a minority language changes by borrowing grammatical elements and/or grammatical principles from the dominant language? It seems to be natural to take the dutchification of Frisian as an example. Three cases of grammatical borrowing of Frisian from Dutch that have been proposed in the literature will be critically discussed: 1. the borrowing of verbal endings that is supposed to be responsible for transition of verbs from the -<i>je</i> class to the -<i>e</i> class; 2. the transition of the diminutive suffix -<i>ke</i> to -<i>tsje</i>; 3. changes in the word order of the Frisian verbal complex. We will argue that the grammatical system of Frisian does not dutchify. Furthermore this examination gives rise to some general conclusions concerning the ways in which minority languages can and cannot be influenced by dominant languages.

References

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