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Chat – New rooms for language contact

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Abstract

The chat room is a new locus of contact between local languages and the global web language, English. The present paper investigates how Greenlandic chat language responds to contact not only with English, but also with Danish, the former colonial language in Greenland. The data compiled in 2006 comprises 56 pages of chat from 12 chat sessions. Greenlandic chat language is characterized by nonstandard spellings, innovative lexicon, and in addtion, by innovative morphology which challenges the principles of polysynthesis and of word formation in general. Especially, the range of linguistic elements which may be involved in word formation is wider in chat language than elsewhere.

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