Language Change in Contact Languages: Grammatical and prosodic considerations
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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It is widely acknowledged that developments in bilingual individuals parallel, and ultimately underlie, those taking place in the course of contact-induced change. In this paper we address the poorly understood relationship between the individual and community-level processes, focusing on the process of grammaticalization in circumstances of language contact and the corresponding developmental processes in bilingual acquisition. The phenomena chosen for discussion are drawn from Singapore Colloquial English (SCE) and from the Hong Kong Bilingual Corpus (Yip & Matthews 2000, 2007). Parallel developments in SCE and bilingual acquisition are analysed as cases of contact-induced grammaticalization as defined by Heine and Kuteva (2003; 2005), with some modifications. The emergence of already as a marker of aspect presents a case of ‘ordinary’ contact-induced grammaticalization, while the development of grammatical functions of give represents a case of replica grammaticalization. One implication of these findings is that bilingual first language acquisition is a possible route for substrate influence, both in general and specifically in the development of contact languages such as pidgins and creoles.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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