Cappadocian Greek nominal infection: the interplay of structural and psycholinguistic factors in contact-induced language change

Karatsareas, P. 2008. Cappadocian Greek nominal infection: the interplay of structural and psycholinguistic factors in contact-induced language change. Methods in Dialectology XIII. University of Leeds, UK Aug 2008

TitleCappadocian Greek nominal infection: the interplay of structural and psycholinguistic factors in contact-induced language change
AuthorsKaratsareas, P.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

Cappadocian Greek nominal inflection: the interplay of structural and psycholinguistic factors in contact-induced language change.

Having developed in isolation from the rest of the Greek-speaking contingent, the Cappadocian Greek dialects remained unaffected from standardization pressures and exhibited extensive inter- and intra-dialectal variation as well as a number of linguistic innovations, absent from other varieties of Greek (Dawkins, 1916; Kesisoglou, 1951; Mavrochalyvidis and Kesisoglou 1960).

This paper presents the results of an interdisciplinary approach to one such Cappadocian innovation, namely the development of a novel morphological construction by means of a reanalysis of the endings -ju and -ja from fusional to agglutinative suffixes marking genitive case and plural number respectively. This ‘shift’ from the ‘inherited’ Greek fusional morphology to an ‘innovative’ type of agglutinative morphology, illustrated in (1), has been attributed to contact with Turkish and has, therefore, been classified as a case of contact-induced language change (CILC) (Thomason and Kaufman, 1988; Janse, 2001).

(1)
‘brother’

a. Turkish
SINGULAR
Nominative kardeʃ
Genitive kardeʃ-in
PLURAL kardeʃ-ler

b. Cappadocian
SINGULAR
Nominative adelfo
Genitive adelfo-ju
Plural adelfo-ja

c. Greek
SINGULAR
Nominative aðelf-os
Genitive aðelf-u
PLURAL
aðelf-i

Until recently, sociolinguistic approaches dominated the field of CILC (Thomason and Kaufman, 1988). These approaches, however, prove to be descriptive and fail to account for the actual linguistic mechanisms of change, the factors relating to the individual speaker and the language faculty or the cognitive processes engaged by the speakers of the languages in contact (Anonymous, 2007).

Hence, in order to account for the change observed in Cappadocian and in line with current research, which calls for the integration of the psycholinguistic dimension of language change into the study of CILC phenomena (Field, 2002; Clyne, 2003; Matras and Sakel, 2007), I adopt a broad methodology combining insights from historical linguistics, psycholinguistics and contact linguistics. The examination of the data available suggests that the emergence of the novel morphological construction in Cappadocian is to be attributed to an interplay of purely linguistic, or structural (i.), and psycholinguistic factors (ii., iii.). More specifically, the change can be attributed to:

i. two chronologically precedent language changes, the loss of word-final unstressed high vowels and the loss of gender and declensional marking, which altered the underlying representations of Cappadocian nouns;

ii. the employment of resolution strategies for ambiguous input by Cappadocian-Turkish bilingual children in order to cope with the overlap between the underlying representations of Cappadocian and Turkish nouns in terms of a set of distinctive properties; and,

iii. an assumption for a one-to-one mapping between meaning and form, which plays a central role in acquisition and processing.

References
Anonymous (2007). Contact-induced morphological change: the ‘leap’ from fusional to agglutinative morphology in Cappadocian. Unpublished MPhil dissertation. University of Cambridge.

Clyne, M. (2003). Dynamics of language contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dawkins, R. M. (1916). Modern Greek in Asia Minor: a study of the dialects of Sílli, Cappadocia and Phárasa with grammar, texts, translations and glossary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Field, F. (2002). Linguistic borrowing in bilingual contexts. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Janse, M. (2001). Morphological borrowing in Asia Minor. In Y. Aggouraki, A. Arvaniti, J. I. M. Davy, D. Goutsos, M. Karyolaimou, A. Panagiotou, P. Pavlou & A. Roussou (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Greek Linguistics (Nicosia, 17-19 September 1999) (pp. 473-479). Thessaloniki: University Studio Press.

Kesigoglou, I.I. (1951). Το γλωσσικό ιδίωμα του Ουλαγάτς [The dialect of Ulaghátsh]. Athens: Institut Français d’ Athènes.

Matras, Y. & Sakel, J. (2007). Investigating the mechanisms of pattern replication in language convergence. Studies in Language 31:4, 829-865.

Mavrochalyvidis, G. & Kesisoglou, I.I. (1960). Το γλωσσικό ιδίωμα της Αξού [The dialect of Axó]. Athens: Institut Français d’ Athènes.

Thomason, S. G., & Kaufman, T. (1988). Language contact, creolization and genetic linguistics. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Year2008
ConferenceMethods in Dialectology XIII
Accepted author manuscriptMiD_slides.pdf

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