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Parallel Processes in English-Hungarian Language Contact Situations

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In language contact research, there is an interrelationship between language systems, social and communicative factors and psycholinguistic processing. Language contact can be associated with face-to-face communication among community members who use different language varieties, as well as with non-personal contact of people using the written medium. Language contact can contribute to the transfer of linguistic patterns and units from one system to another. Stable contact can result in both lexical and grammatical influences, the process being mutual rather than unidirectional. According to Braunmüller and House, language contact and contact-induced variation and change, which can result in convergence and divergence, are omnipresent characteristic features of languages in use.1 Winford takes a similar view and argues that the degree and nature of structural convergence depend on an array of linguistic, social and historical factors. However, he remarks that it is problematic to differentiate between internally motivated changes and transmission from external sources.2 The present research paper deals with the dynamics of the language systems in contact and observes how the languages of bilinguals develop similarities (convergence) and how they distinguish between the two languages in particular ways (divergence). This research employs the corpus of written language samples sourced from the Australian-Hungarian community’s newspaper, entitled Hungarian Life (Magyar Élet). Many of the immigrants who produce text for the newspaper retain the Hungarian language, but have become bilingual in English.

Affiliations: 1: Associate professor, English and American Studies Institute, lecturer in linguistics, applied linguistics and contactlinguistics, University of Pannonia, Veszprém, Hungary,


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