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Open Access Calquing and Metatypy

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Calquing and Metatypy

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image of Journal of Language Contact

Metatypy, meaning 'change in type' is a diachronic process in which the syntactic system of one of a bilingual community's languages is restructured so that it more closely resembles the syntax of its speakers' other language. It is thus a language contact phenomenon. In this paper I deconstruct my earlier account of metatypy and show that metatypy is preceded chronologically by lexical and grammatical calquing but is separate from these processes. Thus there are languages which have undergone widespread grammatical calquing but have stopped short of metatypy. The article also examines alternative terms for metatypy and indicates why I believe that the term 'metatypy' is preferable to them and useful for the subdiscipline of contact linguistics. Associated with this is a proposal that contact linguists adopt a strong hypothesis to the effect that bilingual speakers do not copy single constructions from one of their languages to the other on a piecemeal basis but that they always restructure larger systems. This hypothesis is put forward as a basis for research, not as a statement of belief.


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