Language contact and a diachronic path to embedded negation

Aktiviteetti: Kutsuttu esitelmä


Linguists increasingly acknowledge that language contact takes place almost everywhere and can result in relatively rapid grammatical change. We also acknowledge that extensive contact-based changes do not necessarily follow from imperfect acquisition, as in pidginization, but may also occur in stable bilingual speech communities. If we look at many parts of the Global South, we see that multilingualism and the alternation of linguistic codes in discourse is taken for granted. In a large village in southeastern Sri Lanka, for example, almost everyone speaks three unrelated languages perfectly, including the national languages. But their own native language, an unwritten Malay variety, has come to resemble the other two languages morphosyntactically and pragmatically. According to one model, a contact language may draw structural features from more than one language, basically at random, using available forms, whose function may shift. Yet since the change’s motivation is communicative transparency, a shift in function should be more likely if there is some degree of semantic relatedness between the old structure and the new one. The case I will present is infinitival negation in this language, which has different negation markers for different clause types, but which originally lacked finite verbs and infinitival complementation. The goal is to demonstrate a logical diachronic path from a type of unembedded negation to infinitival negation in embedded clauses. This involved bilingual speakers coming to associate the semantic interpretation of the relevant negation marker jang in Indonesian Malay varieties with its semantic interpretation in new Sri Lankan Malay infinitives.
Aikajakso12 toukok. 2022
Tapahtuman otsikko48th Finnish Conference of Linguistics / Kielitieteenpäivät
Tapahtuman tyyppiConference
SijaintiTurku, SuomiNäytä kartalla
Tunnustuksen arvoInternational

Country of activity

  • Suomi