Morphological structure can escape reduction effects from mass admixture of second language speakers
Evidence from Sino-Tibetan
Morphological complexity is expected to decrease under mass admixture from adult second language speakers. While this has been chiefly shown for morphological richness, an unresolved question is whether the effect extends to aspects of morphological boundedness. Here we report a case study of Sino-Tibetan verbs, contrasting verbal expressions of two languages with very large (Chinese, Burmese) and of two languages with very small (Bunan, Chintang) numbers of second language speakers. We find that while the amount of second language speakers accounts for differences in the range and number of inflectional categories (degrees of synthesis), it does not affect the way in which morphological constituents are bound together, reflecting fortification through a mix of diachronically stable and universally preferred patterns. This calls for theoretical models that narrow down the range of changes that are driven by second language speaker admixture, and for extensive empirical testing on a global scale.
- 3.1.1Grammatical cohesion in Bunan
- 3.1.2Phonological cohesion domains in Bunan
- 3.1.3Synopsis of Bunan cohesion domains
- 3.2.1Grammatical cohesion domains in Chintang
- 3.2.2Phonological cohesion domains in Chintang
- 3.2.3Synopsis of Chintang cohesion domains
- 3.3.1Grammatical cohesion domains in Burmese
- 3.3.2Phonological cohesion domains in Burmese
- 3.3.3Synopsis of Burmese cohesion domains
- 3.4Mandarin Chinese
- 3.4.1Grammatical cohesion domains in Mandarin
- 3.4.2Phonological cohesion domains in Mandarin
- 3.4.3Synopsis of Mandarin cohesion domains
- 4.1Morpheme types and cohesion
- Supporting materials
Published online: 02 November 2020
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