image of A typological approach to language change in contact situations



Language contact phenomena have increasingly been researched from different historical linguistic, sociolinguistic and areal-typological perspectives. However, since most of this research is based on case studies, an assessment of contact phenomena from a worldwide comparative perspective has been missing in the literature. In this article, we draw inspiration from historical linguistics and language typology to present a new typological approach for evaluating evidence that given linguistic domains have been affected by language contact. This method has three parts: (1) a new approach to sampling, (2) the analysis of typological data, and (3) making probabilistic inferences about language contact. We argue that this is a parsimonious method for evaluating contact effects that can serve as a starting point for the further development of typological approaches to language contact.

Available under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Backus, Ad
    2014 Towards a usage-based account of language change: Implications of contact linguistics for linguistic theory. InRobert Nicolaï (ed.), Questioning language contact, –. Leiden: Brill. 10.1163/9789004279056_005
    https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004279056_005 [Google Scholar]
  2. Bickel, Balthasar
    2010 Capturing particulars and universals in clause linkage: A multivariate analysis. InIsabel Bril (ed.), Clause-hierarchy and clause-linking: The syntax and pragmatics interface, –. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.121.03bic
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.121.03bic [Google Scholar]
  3. Bickel, Balthasar, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich, Kamal K. Choudhary, Matthias Schlesewsky & Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky
    2015 The neurophysiology of language processing shapes the evolution of grammar: Evidence from case marking. PLoS ONE(). . 10.1371/journal.pone.0132819
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0132819 [Google Scholar]
  4. Bickel, Balthasar, Johanna Nichols, Taras Zakharko, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich, Kristine A. Hildebrandt, Michael Rießler, Lennart Bierkandt, Fernando Zúñiga & John B. Lowe
    2022The AUTOTYP database, version 1.1.0. Zenodo. 10.5281/ZENODO.6793367
    https://doi.org/10.5281/ZENODO.6793367 [Google Scholar]
  5. Bowern, Claire
    2013 Relatedness as a factor in language contact. Journal of Language Contact(). –. 10.1163/19552629‑00602010
    https://doi.org/10.1163/19552629-00602010 [Google Scholar]
  6. Bybee, Joan L. & Sandra A. Thompson
    1997 Three frequency effects in syntax. Berkeley Linguistic Society (BLS). –. 10.3765/bls.v23i1.1293
    https://doi.org/10.3765/bls.v23i1.1293 [Google Scholar]
  7. Cathcart, Chundra, Gerd Carling, Filip Larsson, Niklas Johansson & Erich Round
    2018 Areal pressure in grammatical evolution: An Indo-European case study. Diachronica(). –. 10.1075/dia.16035.cat
    https://doi.org/10.1075/dia.16035.cat [Google Scholar]
  8. Croft, William A.
    2021 A sociolinguistic typology for languages in contact. InEnoch O. Aboh & Cécile B. Vigouroux (eds.), Variation rolls the dice: A worldwide collage in honour of Salikoko S. Mufwene, –. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/coll.59.02cro
    https://doi.org/10.1075/coll.59.02cro [Google Scholar]
  9. Di Garbo, Francesca, Eri Kashima, Ricardo Napoleão de Souza & Kaius Sinnemäki
    2021 Concepts and methods for integrating language typology and sociolinguistics. InSilvia Ballarè & Guglielmo Inglese (eds.), Tipologia e Sociolinguistica: verso un approccio integrato allo studio della variazione: Atti del Workshop della Società Linguistica Italiana 20 settembre 2020, –. Milan: Officinaventuno. 10.17469/O2105SLI000005
    https://doi.org/10.17469/O2105SLI000005 [Google Scholar]
  10. Di Garbo, Francesca & Ricardo Napoleão de Souza
    2023 A sampling technique for worldwide comparisons of contact scenarios. Linguistic Typology(). –. 10.1515/lingty‑2022‑0005
    https://doi.org/10.1515/lingty-2022-0005 [Google Scholar]
  11. Dryer, Matthew S. & Martin Haspelmath
    (eds.) 2013WALS Online (v2020.3) [Data set]. Zenodo. 10.5281/zenodo.7385533Available online athttps://wals.info
    https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7385533 [Google Scholar]
  12. Dunn, Michael, Simon J. Greenhill, Stephen C. Levinson & Russel D. Gray
    2011 Evolved structure of language shows lineage-specific trends in word-order universals. Nature(). –. 10.1038/nature09923
    https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09923 [Google Scholar]
  13. Easterday, Shelece
    2019Highly complex syllable structure: A typological and diachronic study. Berlin: Language Science Press. 10.5281/ZENODO.3268721
    https://doi.org/10.5281/ZENODO.3268721 [Google Scholar]
  14. Easterday, Shelece & Ricardo Napoleão de Souza
    2015 Is there evidence for a hierarchy in the synchronic patterning of syllable onsets?11th Conference of the Association for Linguistic Typology, Albuquerque, USA, August 1–3.
  15. Fortescue, Michael D.
    1998Language relations across Bering Strait: Reappraising the archaeological and linguistic evidence. London: Cassell.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Guy, Gregory R.
    2011 Variation and change. InWarren Maguire & April McMahon (eds.), Analysing variation in English, –. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511976360.009
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511976360.009 [Google Scholar]
  17. Guzmán Naranjo, Matías & Laura Becker
    2022 Statistical bias control in typology. Linguistic Typology(). –. 10.1515/lingty‑2021‑0002
    https://doi.org/10.1515/lingty-2021-0002 [Google Scholar]
  18. Hübler, Nataliia
    2022 Phylogenetic signal and rate of evolutionary change in language structures. Royal Society Open Science(). . 10.1098/rsos.211252
    https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.211252 [Google Scholar]
  19. Jäger, Gerhard & Johann-Mattis List
    2018 Using ancestral state reconstruction methods for onomasiological reconstruction in multilingual word lists. Language Dynamics and Change(). –. 10.1163/22105832‑00801002
    https://doi.org/10.1163/22105832-00801002 [Google Scholar]
  20. Kashima, Eri, Francesca Di Garbo, Olesya Khanina & Ruth Singer
    . In review. The design principles of a sociolinguistic-typological questionnaire for language contact research. Language Dynamics and Change.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria
    2010 Linguistic typology and language contact. InJae Jung Song (ed.), The Oxford handbook of linguistic typology, –. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199281251.013.0027
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199281251.013.0027 [Google Scholar]
  22. Lesage, Jakob, Hannah J. Haynie, Hedvig Skirgård, Tobias Weber & Alena Witzlack-Makarevich
    2022 Overlooked data in typological databases: What Grambank teaches us about gaps in grammars. InProceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference, –. Marseille: European Language Resources Association. https://aclanthology.org/2022.lrec-1.309
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Levshina, Natalia
    2019 Token-based typology and word order entropy: A study based on Universal Dependencies. Linguistic Typology(). –. 10.1515/lingty‑2019‑0025
    https://doi.org/10.1515/lingty-2019-0025 [Google Scholar]
  24. List, Johann-Mattis
    2019 Automated methods for the investigation of language contact, with a focus on lexical borrowing. Language and Linguistics Compass(). . 10.1111/lnc3.12355
    https://doi.org/10.1111/lnc3.12355 [Google Scholar]
  25. Lüpke, Friederike
    2019 Language endangerment and language documentation in Africa. InH. Ekkehard Wolff (ed.), The Cambridge handbook of African linguistics, –. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/9781108283991.015
    https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108283991.015 [Google Scholar]
  26. Macklin-Cordes, Jayden L. & Erich R. Round
    2022 Challenges of sampling and how phylogenetic comparative methods help: With a case study of the Pama-Nyungan laminal contrast. Linguistic Typology(). –. 10.1515/lingty‑2021‑0025
    https://doi.org/10.1515/lingty-2021-0025 [Google Scholar]
  27. Maddieson, Ian
    2013 Syllable structure. InMatthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds.), WALS Online (v2020.3) [Data set]. Zenodo. 10.5281/zenodo.7385533Available online atwals.info/chapter/12
    https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7385533 [Google Scholar]
  28. Marten, Lutz & Malin Petzell
    2016 Linguistic variation and the dynamics of language documentation: Editing in ‘pure’ Kagulu. Language Documentation & Conservation. –. hdl.handle.net/10125/24651
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Maslova, Elena
    2003 A case for implicational universals. Linguistic Typology(). –. 10.1515/lity.2003.006
    https://doi.org/10.1515/lity.2003.006 [Google Scholar]
  30. Matras, Yaron & Jeanette Sakel
    2007 Investigating the mechanisms of pattern replication in language convergence. Studies in Language(). –. 10.1075/sl.31.4.05mat
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sl.31.4.05mat [Google Scholar]
  31. McGhee, George R.
    2011Convergent evolution: Limited forms most beautiful. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016421.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/9780262016421.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  32. Miestamo, Matti
    2011 Skolt Saami: A typological profile. Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Aikakauskirja 2011(). –. 10.33340/susa.82233
    https://doi.org/10.33340/susa.82233 [Google Scholar]
  33. Miestamo, Matti, Dik Bakker & Antti Arppe
    2016 Sampling for variety. Linguistic Typology(). –. 10.1515/lingty‑2016‑0006
    https://doi.org/10.1515/lingty-2016-0006 [Google Scholar]
  34. Napoleão de Souza, Ricardo, Francesca Di Garbo, Kaius Sinnemäki, Eri Kashima, Noora Ahola, Anu Hyvönen & Oona Raatikainen
    2022 Typologizing contact effects on a global scale. Paper presented at the14th Biennial Conference of the Association for Linguistic Typology, 15–17 December 2022, Austin, TX.
  35. Napoleão de Souza, Ricardo & Kaius Sinnemäki
    2022 Beyond segment inventories: Phonological complexity and suprasegmental variables in contact situations. Journal of Language Contact(). –. 10.1163/19552629‑15030001
    https://doi.org/10.1163/19552629-15030001 [Google Scholar]
  36. Neureiter, Nico, Peter Ranacher, Nour Efrat-Kowalsky, Gereon A. Kaiping, Robert Weibel, Paul Widmer & Remco R. Bouckaert
    2022 Detecting contact in language trees: A Bayesian phylogenetic model with horizontal transfer. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications(). –. 10.1057/s41599‑022‑01211‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-022-01211-7 [Google Scholar]
  37. Polinsky, Maria
    2014 Heritage languages and their speakers: Looking ahead. InMarta Fairclough & Sara M. Beaudrie (eds.), Innovative approaches to heritage languages: From research to practice, –. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. https://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/33946918
    [Google Scholar]
  38. R Core Team
    R Core Team 2023R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. https://www.R-project.org/
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Ranacher, Peter, Nico Neureiter, Rik van Gijn, Barbara Sonnenhauser, Anastasia Escher, Robert Weibel, Pieter Muysken & Balthasar Bickel
    2021 Contact-tracing in cultural evolution: A Bayesian mixture model to detect geographic areas of language contact. Journal of The Royal Society Interface(). 20201031. 10.1098/rsif.2020.1031
    https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2020.1031 [Google Scholar]
  40. Riad, Tomas
    2014The phonology of Swedish. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Sinnemäki, Kaius, Francesca Di Garbo, Eri Kashima, Ricardo Napoleão de Souza & T. Mark Ellison
    2023 Language contact effects in their multilingual ecology: A typological approach. A paper presented at the56th Annual Conference of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE), 29 August–1 September 2023, Athens.
  42. Sinnemäki, Kaius & Noora Ahola
    2023 Testing inferences about language contact on morphosyntax: A typological case study on Alorese–Adang contact. Transactions of the Philological Society(). –. 10.1111/1467‑968X.12284
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-968X.12284 [Google Scholar]
  43. Thomason, Sarah Grey
    2001Language contact: An introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Thomason, Sarah Grey & Terrence Kaufman
    1988Language contact, creolization, and genetic linguistics. Berkeley: University of California Press. 10.1525/9780520912793
    https://doi.org/10.1525/9780520912793 [Google Scholar]
  45. Torres Cacoullos, Rena & Catherine E. Travis
    2018Bilingualism in the community: Code-switching and grammars in contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/9781108235259
    https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108235259 [Google Scholar]
  46. Trudgill, Peter
    2011Sociolinguistic typology: Social determinants of linguistic complexity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Witzlack-Makarevich, Alena, Johanna Nichols, Kristine A. Hildebrandt, Taras Zakharko & Balthasar Bickel
    2022 Managing AUTOTYP data: Design principles and implementation. InAndrea L. Berez-Kroeker, Bradley McDonnell, Eve Koller & Lauren B. Collister (eds.), The open handbook of linguistic data management, –. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 10.7551/mitpress/12200.003.0061
    https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/12200.003.0061 [Google Scholar]
  48. Yakpo, Kofi
    2020 Social factors. InEvangelia Adamou & Yaron Matras (eds.), The Routledge handbook of language contact, –. London: Routledge. 10.4324/9781351109154‑10
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351109154-10 [Google Scholar]
  49. Ylikoski, Jussi
    2022 South Saami. InMarianne Bakró-Nagy, Johanna Laakso & Elena Skribnik (eds.), The Oxford guide to the Uralic languages, –. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oso/9780198767664.003.0008
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198767664.003.0008 [Google Scholar]
  50. Bickel, Balthasar, Johanna Nichols, Taras Zakharko, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich, Kristine A. Hildebrandt, Michael Rießler, Lennart Bierkandt, Fernando Zúñiga & John B. Lowe
    2022 The AUTOTYP database, version 1.1.0. Zenodo. 10.5281/ZENODO.6793367
    https://doi.org/10.5281/ZENODO.6793367 [Google Scholar]
  51. Corbett, Greville G.
    2000Number. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139164344
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139164344 [Google Scholar]
  52. Diessel, Holger
    1999aDemonstratives: Form, function and grammaticalization. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.42
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.42 [Google Scholar]
  53. 1999b The morphosyntax of demonstratives in synchrony and diachrony. Linguistic Typology(). –. 10.1515/lity.1999.3.1.1
    https://doi.org/10.1515/lity.1999.3.1.1 [Google Scholar]
  54. Goedemans, Rob & Harry van der Hulst
    2009 StressTyp: A database for word accentual patterns in the world's languages. InMartin Everaert, Simon Musgrave & Alexis Dimitriadis (eds.), The use of databases in cross-linguistic studies, –. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110198744.235
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110198744.235 [Google Scholar]
  55. Goedemans, Rob, Jeffrey Heinz & Harry van der Hulst
    2015 StressTyp2, version 1. st2.ullet.net
  56. Gordon, Matthew
    2016Phonological typology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669004.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669004.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  57. Haspelmath, Martin
    2017 Explaining alienability contrasts in adpossessive constructions: Predictability vs. iconicity. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft(). –. 10.1515/zfs‑2017‑0009
    https://doi.org/10.1515/zfs-2017-0009 [Google Scholar]
  58. Hyman, Larry M.
    2006 Word-prosodic typology. Phonology(). –. 10.1017/S0952675706000893
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0952675706000893 [Google Scholar]
  59. Igartua, Iván
    2015 From cumulative to separative exponence in inflection: Reversing the morphological cycle. Language(). –. 10.1353/lan.2015.0032
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2015.0032 [Google Scholar]
  60. Jun, Sun-Ah
    2014 Prosodic typology: by prominence type, word prosody, and macrorhythm. InSun-Ah Jun (ed.), Prosodic typology II: The phonology of intonation and phrasing, –. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567300.003.0017
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567300.003.0017 [Google Scholar]
  61. Kibort, Anna & Greville G. Corbett
    2008Grammatical features inventory: Number. University of Surrey. 10.15126/SMG.18/1.02
    https://doi.org/10.15126/SMG.18/1.02 [Google Scholar]
  62. Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria
    2003 Possessive noun phrases in the languages of Europe. InFrans Planck (ed.), Noun phrase structure in the languages of Europe, –. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  63. König, Ekkehard
    2001 Internal and external possessors. InMartin Haspelmath, Ekkehard König, Wulf Oesterreicher & Wolfgang Raible (eds.), Language typology and language universals, Volume 2, –. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
    [Google Scholar]
  64. Maddieson, Ian, Sebastien Flavier, Edigio Marsico & Francois Pellegrino
    2014–2016 LAPSyD: Lyon-Albuquerque Phonological Systems Databases, Version 1.0. https://lapsyd.huma-num.fr/lapsyd/
  65. Nichols, Johanna
    1992Linguistic diversity in space and time. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 10.7208/chicago/9780226580593.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226580593.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  66. Nichols, Johanna & Balthasar Bickel
    2013 Locus of marking in possessive noun phrases. InMatthew Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds.), WALS Online (v2020.3) [Data set]. Zenodo10.5281/zenodo.7385533. Available online atwals.info/chapter/24
    https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7385533 [Google Scholar]
  67. Ortmann, Albert
    2018 Connecting the typology and semantics of nominal possession: alienability splits and the morphology-semantics interface. Morphology(). –. 10.1007/s11525‑017‑9319‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11525-017-9319-6 [Google Scholar]
  68. Roettger, Timo & Matthew Gordon
    2017 Methodological issues in the study of word stress correlates. Linguistics Vanguard(). 20170006. 10.1515/lingvan‑2017‑0006
    https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2017-0006 [Google Scholar]
  69. Anderson, Gregory D. S.
    2008 Gtaʔ. InGregory D. S. Anderson (ed.), The Munda languages, –. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  70. David, Anne Boyle
    2015Descriptive grammar of Bangla. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9781614512295
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781614512295 [Google Scholar]
  71. Ghosh, Arun
    2008 Santali. InGregory D. S. Anderson (ed.), The Munda languages, –. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  72. Hall, Elizabeth
    2010 A phonology of Muak Sa-aak. MA thesis, Payap University, Chiang Mai.
    [Google Scholar]
  73. Maddieson, Ian, Sébastien Flavier, Edigio Marsico & François Pellegrino
    2014–2016 LAPSyD: Lyon-Albuquerque Phonological Systems Databases, Version 1.0. www.lapsyd.ddl.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/lapsyd/
  74. Neukom, Lukas
    2001Santali. Languages of the World/Materials, 323. München: Lincom.
    [Google Scholar]
  75. Ring, Hiram
    2015 A grammar of Pnar. PhD dissertation, Nanyang Technological University. 10.32657/10356/62519
  76. Sibasis Mukherjee
    2011 Bengali. InWest Bengal: Part-I, –. India: Language Division Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner.
    [Google Scholar]
  77. Ranacher, Peter, Nico Neureiter, Rik van Gijn, Barbara Sonnenhauser, Anastasia Escher, Robert Weibel, Pieter Muysken & Balthasar Bickel
    2021 Contact-tracing in cultural evolution: a Bayesian mixture model to detect geographic areas of language contact. Journal of The Royal Society Interface. (). 20201031. 10.1098/rsif.2020.1031
    https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2020.1031 [Google Scholar]
  78. Sinnemäki, Kaius & Noora Ahola
    2023 Testing inferences about language contact on morphosyntax: A typological case study on Alorese – Adang contact. Transactions of the Philological Society(). –. 10.1111/1467‑968X.12284
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-968X.12284 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error