Language contact

Yaron Matras
Table of contents

Language contact is the interplay of two or more linguistic systems. Research into language contact examines the potential consequences of this interplay in usage patterns as well as in the structure of language. Since contact involves factors that are external to the linguistic system (in the canonical understanding of ‘system’), language contact had initially been associated primarily with sociolinguistic research agendas. Since the late 1970’s however there has been growing interest in language contact also in psycholinguistics, historical linguistics, and linguistic typology. Societal and individual aspects of language contact – those having to do with choices that speakers make among linguistic repertoires – are often discussed under the headings ‘bilingualism’ or ‘multilingualism’.

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price.


Albert, M.L. & L.K. Obler
1978The bilingual brain. Neuropsychological and neurolinguistic aspects of bilingualism. Academic Press.Google Scholar
Auer, P.
1984Bilingual conversation. John Benjamins. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Bakker, P.
1997A language of our own: the genesis of Michif, the mixed Cree-French language. Oxford University Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Bakker, P. & Y. Matras
(eds.) 2003The mixed language debate. Mouton de Gruyter. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Bakker, P. & M. Mous
(eds.) 1994Mixed languages. 15 case studies in language intertwining. IFOTT.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Bickerton, D.
1981Roots of language. Karoma.Google Scholar
Bolonyai, A.
1998In-between languages: language shift/maintenance in childhood bilingualism. International Journal of Bilingualism 2: 21–43. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Campbell, L.
1993On proposed universals of grammatical borrowing. In H. Aertsen & R.J. Jeffers (eds.) Historical linguistics 1989: 91–109. John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Clyne, M.
1967Transferance and triggering. Nijhoff.Google Scholar
Comrie, B., M. Dryer, D. Gil & M. Haspelmath
(eds.) forthcoming World atlas of the linguistic structures
Crystal, D.
2000Language death. Cambridge University Press. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Dawkins, R.M.
1916Modern Greek in Asia Minor. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Disciullo, A.-M., P. Muysken & R. Singh
1986Code-mixing and government. Journal of Linguistics 22: 1–24. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Dorian, N.
1981Language death. The life cycle of a Scottish Gaelic dialect. University of Pennsylvania Press. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Ervin, S. & C. Osgood
1954Second language learning and bilingualism. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology Supplement 49: 139–146.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Fishman, J.
1965Who speaks what language to whom and when. La linguistique 2: 67–88.  BoPGoogle Scholar
1967Bilingualism with and without diglossia; diglossia with and without bilingualism. Journal of Social Issues 23: 29–38. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Gal, S.
1979Language shift. Social determinants of linguistic change in bilingual Austria. Academic Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Gardner-Chloros, P.
1991Language selection and switching in Strasbourg. Clarendon.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Gumperz, J.
1982Discourse strategies. Cambridge University Press. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Harris, A. & L. Campbell
1995Historical syntax in cross-linguistic perspective. Cambridge University Press. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Haugen, E.
1950The analysis of linguistic borrowing. Language 26: 210–231. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Holm, J.
2000An introduction to pidgins and creoles. Cambridge University Press. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Jake, J.
1998Constructing interlanguage: building a composite matrix language. Linguistics 36: 333–382. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Joseph, B.
1983The synchrony and diachrony of the Balkan infinitive. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Lanza, E.
1997Language mixing in infant bilingualism: A sociolinguistic perspective. Oxford University Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Lehiste, I.
1988Lectures on language contact. MIT Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Maschler, Y.
1994Metalanguaging and discourse markers in bilingual conversation. Language in Society 23: 325–366. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Masica, C.
1976Defining a linguistic area: South Asia. Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
2001The definition and significance of linguistic areas. In P. Bhaskararao & K. Subbarao (eds.) The Yearbook of South Asian Languages and Linguistics 2001: 205–268. Sage.Google Scholar
Matras, Y.
1998Utterance modifiers and universals of grammatical borrowing. Linguistics 36: 281–331. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
1999The state of present-day Domari in Jerusalem. Mediterranean Language Review 11: 1–58.Google Scholar
2003Romani: A linguistic introduction. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
2004Re-examining the structural prototype in mixed languages. In P. Bakker & Y. Matras (eds.).Google Scholar
Mcwhorter, J.
1998Identifying the Creole prototype: Vindicating a typological class. Language 74: 788–818. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
2001The world’s simplest grammars are creole grammars. Linguistic Typology 5: 125–166.DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Meeuwis, M. & J. Blommaert
1998A monolectal view of code-switching. Layered code-switching among Zairians in Belgium. In P. Auer (ed.) Code-switching in conversation. Languages, interaction and identity: 76–98. Routledge.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Meisel, J.M.
1989Early differentiation of languages in bilingual children. In K. Hyltenstam & L. Obler (edss) Bilingualism across the lifespan. Acquisition, maturity and loss: 13–40. Cambridge University Pressambridge University Press. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Moravcsik, E.
1978Universals of language contact. In J. Greenberg (ed.) Universals of human language: 94–122. Stanford University Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Muysken, P.
2000Bilingual speech. Cambridge University Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Myers-Scotton, C.
1993aSocial motivations for codeswitching: evidence from Africa. Oxford University Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
1993bDuelling languages: grammatical structure in codeswitching. Oxford University Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Myers-Scotton, C. & J. Jake
2000Four types of morpheme: evidence from aphasia, code switching, and second language acquisition. Linguistics 38: 1053–1100. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Nelde, P.H.
(ed.) 1980Languages in contact and in conflict. Steiner. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Paradis, M.
(ed.) 1987The assessment of bilingual aphasia. Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Poplack, S.
1980Sometimes I’ll start a sentence in Spanish y termino en español: toward a typology of code-switching. Linguistics 18: 581–618. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Poplack, S., D. Sankoff & C. Miller
1988The social correlates and linguistic processes of lexical borrowing and assimilation. Linguistics 26: 47–104. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Ross, M.
1996Contact-induced change and the comparative method. In M. Durie & M. Ross (eds.) The comparative method reviewed: 180–217. Oxford University Pressxford University Press. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Salmons, J.
1990Bilingual discourse marking: code switching, borrowing, and convergence in some German-American dialects. Linguistics 28: 453–480. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Silva-Corvalán, C.
1994Language contact and change. Clarendon Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Stolz, C. & T. Stolz
1996Funktionswortentlehnung in Mesoamerika. Spanisch-amerindischer Sprachkontakt (Hispanoindiana II). Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung 49 : 86–123.Google Scholar
Thomason, S.G.
1997A typology of contact languages. In A. Spears & W. Donald (eds.) The structure and status of pidgins and creoles: 71–88. John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
2001Language contact. An introduction. Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
(ed.) 1997Contact languages: a wider perspective. John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Thomason, S.G. & T. Kaufman
1988Language contact, creolization and genetic linguistics. University of California Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Volterra, V. & T. Taeschner
1978The acquisition and development of language by bilingual children. Journal of Child Language 5: 311–326. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Weinreich, U.
1953Languages in contact. Mouton.  BoPGoogle Scholar