Chapter published in:Language Contact in the Territory of the Former Soviet Union
Edited by Diana Forker and Lenore A. Grenoble
[IMPACT: Studies in Language, Culture and Society 50] 2021
Enets-Russian language contact
This paper explores the topic of Enets-Russian language contact from two perspectives: via a thorough description of sociolinguistic details of the contact (based on sociolinguistic interviews performed by the author in 2017, complemented by ethnographic data from the 1920s–1940s) and via an overview of its linguistic consequences for the lexicon, phonology, syntax, and discourse structures of Enets (based on an extensive corpus of Enets speech). All consecutive stages of Enets-Russian interaction are described: very limited contacts with Russian (before the end of the 1930s), start of the russification campaign (1940s–1950s), a transitional period (1960s), and the victory of Russian (from the 1970s onwards). Then all known instances of linguistic traces of this interaction for Enets are summarized. They represent both instances of negative borrowing (loss of phonotactic restrictions in phonology, reduced frequency of complex structures in subordination) and positive borrowing (loanwords, new phonemes, reduction as added phonetic realizations of some vowel phonemes, clause-combining strategies involving Russian conjunctions). Overall, the linguistic changes that Enets has undergone under the influence of Russian are not numerous, in particular if the lexicon is set aside, and this is explained by the very limited duration of the transition period, when both languages were in active use by the same individuals.
Keywords: language contact, Enets, Russian, historical sociolinguistics, borrowing
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