Articles tagged with: language contact
The spatial distribution of words for a given meaning can reveal interesting patterns of both language spread and language contact. While both factors are always at play, language contact is more evident in regard to words for cultural innovations, such as ‘tea’ or ‘computer’. Another interesting case is the geography of words for ‘book’, which many languages borrowed along with the general concept of ‘book’ and more often than not with one particularly important religious text.
According to a short article by Sindya N. Bhanoo in the New York Times, titled “Genomic Study Traces Roma to Northern India”, a research article recently published in Current Biology “appears to confirm that the Roma came from a single group that left northwestern India about 1,500 years ago”. In actuality, the article in Current Biology makes no such claims.
In previous posts, I have argued that the constructions identified by Faarlund and Emonds as Scandinavian imports developed internally to English, although the presence of large numbers of Norse-speaking Vikings, especially in northern England, played an important role in precipitating some of these changes. Thus, Faarlund’s statement that “it is highly irregular to borrow the syntax and structure from one language and use it in another language” is erroneous. In fact, languages in close contact over a long period often do swap grammar as well as words.
The current post addresses the issue of language spread, questioning whether it occurs by way of diffusion only, as modeled by Bouckaert et al. Instead, we suggest that a different transport phenomenon, that of advection, should be incorporated in order to provide an adequate mathematical model of language expansion.
The Northwest Caucasus – including Russia’s internal republics of Adygea, Karachai-Cherkessia, and Kabardino-Balkaria, as well as parts of Krasnodar Krai in Russia proper – presents a veritably kaleidoscopic ethno-linguistic picture. As can be seen from this ethno-linguistic map of Karachai-Cherkessia, based on 2002 census data, Indo-European-speaking groups such as the Russians (shown in blue) and the Ossetians (in brown) coexist …
Ossetians are a unique group in the North Caucasus, in two ways. First, they are the only ethnic group actually found on both the northern and southern slopes of the Caucasus mountain range; North Ossetia-Alania and South Ossetia are connected merely by the Roki Tunnel. Second, apart from such relative newcomers as the Russians, Ossetians are the only group in …