Linguist Forum

Specializations => Historical Linguistics => Topic started by: Forbes on July 19, 2021, 03:58:48 PM

Title: Sprachbunds
Post by: Forbes on July 19, 2021, 03:58:48 PM
There is no doubt that Sprachbunds exist. How though do they come about when the members are not closely related? What makes the speakers of one language adopt a feature of another? It is difficult to imagine people thinking: "Postpositive articles! We'll have some of that!"
Title: Re: Sprachbunds
Post by: Daniel on July 19, 2021, 09:32:38 PM
Close contact. Sprachbunds aren't a sharply defined phenomenon, but just the extreme end of prolonged close contact between languages. Bilingualism results in convergence, along with borrowing and other factors.

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It is difficult to imagine people thinking: "Postpositive articles! We'll have some of that!"
But that's not the case for internal change either. Language change is just the result of language use. When a language is used a certain way, that shapes its future. When languages are used together, that shapes their futures.
Title: Re: Sprachbunds
Post by: Forbes on August 15, 2021, 01:03:55 AM
Languages meet and mix in all sorts of ways for various reasons. I can see that when people need to communicate they will make concessions, but the grammar of one language "interfering" with another seems extreme. Adoption by a group of languages of grammatical features does not in fact increase mutual intelligibility between them, so it is puzzling why it happens.