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Open Access Relabelling: A Major Process in Language Contact

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Relabelling: A Major Process in Language Contact

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The problem of language contact may be taken up from two opposite angles: the processes at work in language contact situations or the language contact varieties. In this paper, I look at contact phenomena from the former angle. I focus on one process: relabelling, a mental operation that consists in assigning a lexical entry of a given language, L1, a new label taken from another language, L2. The aim of this paper is threefold: first, to assess the extent of relabelling across language contact situations; second, to assess the extent of relabelling across lexicons; and third, to assess the possibility of relabelling in cases of agglutinative languages. The approach taken in this paper highlights the importance of the process of relabelling in a variety of language contact situations. Furthermore, it makes it possible to analyse in a unified way the contribution of a single process to the makeup of various language varieties arising in different contact situations, and thus to link a number of contact phenomena and situations that would otherwise remain separate.


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