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Open Access Constraints on Contact-Induced Linguistic Change

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Constraints on Contact-Induced Linguistic Change

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In a recent paper on "Social and Linguistic Factors as Predictors of Contact-Induced Change" Thomason (2007) reiterates the claim made earlier by Thomason & Kaufman (1988) and others (e.g., Harris & Campbell 1995; Curnow 2001) that there are no linguistic constraints on interference in language contact, in that any linguistic feature can be transferred to any language, and any change can occur as a direct or indirect result of language contact, and she is satisfied to observe that all the specific constraints on contact-induced change that have been proposed have been counterexemplified.

The present paper takes issue with this stance, arguing that it might be in need of reconsideration, in that there are in fact some constraints on contact-induced linguistic change. These constraints relate to grammatical replication, as it has been described in Heine & Kuteva (2003; 2005; 2006), thus lending further support to the generalizations on language contact proposed there.


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