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A model of contact-induced language change: Testing the role of second language speakers in the evolution of Mozambican Portuguese
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Centre for Cultural Evolution. Dalarna University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8840-076X
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Centre for Cultural Evolution. University of Pennsylvania, United States of America .
2019 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 14, no 4, article id e0212303Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Language change is accelerated by language contact, especially by contact that occurs when a group of speakers shifts from one language to another. This has commonly been explained by linguistic innovation occurring during second language acquisition. This hypothesis is based on historical reconstructions of instances of contact and has not been formally tested on empirical data. In this paper, we construct an agent-based model to formalize the hypothesis that second language speakers are responsible for accelerated language change during language shift. We compare model predictions to a unique combination of diachronic linguistic and demographic data from Maputu, Mozambique. The model correctly predicts an increased proportional use of the novel linguistic variants during the period we study. We find that a modified version of the model is a better fit to one of our two datasets and discuss plausible reasons for this. As a general conclusion concerning typological differences between contact-induced and non-contact-induced language change, we suggest that multiple introductions of a new linguistic variant by different individuals may be the mechanism by which language contact accelerates language change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 14, no 4, article id e0212303
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-159878DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0212303ISI: 000465519100008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-159878DiVA, id: diva2:1246549
Available from: 2018-09-07 Created: 2018-09-07 Last updated: 2019-05-27Bibliographically approved

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