In Peter Trudgill, J. Chambers & N. Schilling-Estes, eds., Handbook of Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 2001, pp. 638-668.
Linguistic Outcomes of Language Contact
Gillian Sankoff University of Pennsylvania
1.0 INTRODUCTION In virtually every country in the world at the inception of the 21st century, linguistic minorities can be found. These have arisen both through immigration and through the adoption – often, but not always, imposition – of languages not previously not spoken by local populations. Though this has led in hundreds of cases to language loss and to a reduction of linguistic diversity (as documented in the Wolfram chapter in this volume), language contact is part of the social fabric of everyday life for hundreds of millions of people the world over. To what extent have these different historical and contemporary social processes produced different linguistic outcomes? The crucial point here, almost too obvious perhaps to merit stating, is that languages spoken by bilinguals are often altered such that ensuing changes differ from the results of internal processes of change within monolingual speech communities. In other words, languages spoken by bilinguals influence each other in various ways. The goal of this chapter is to review work in sociolinguistics devoted to understanding what has happened to languages “in contact”, i.e., spoken by bilinguals (Weinreich 1968). The other chapters in this section (by Britten on diffusion and Kerswill on koineization) deal with contact among speech varieties that are more closely related. However, some of the same processes involved in these cases will also be seen to operate across language boundaries – the diffusion of uvular (r) in a number of European languages is one well-known example (Trudgill 1974a; see also Tristram 1995). In this review, I will concentrate on research that, following Weinreich, (1) takes the speech community, rather than the individual, as its angle of vision; (2)...