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Multilingualism research group, seminar 9

When Jun 02, 2016
from 01:00 PM to 02:30 PM
Where G-R04, English Faculty
Contact Name
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Speakers: Dr Philippa Steele (Faculty of Classics) and Nicolaos Neocleous (Dept. of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics).

Mulitlingual situations and the adaptation of ancient writing systems

Dr Philippa Steele (Faculty of Classics)

We know of numerous ancient occasions when writing was borrowed from one
group by another and adapted for a new language. This paper uses some brief
case studies drawn from the ancient Mediterranean to explore the relevance
of multilingual settings to script adaptation processes - both the
background of language contact in which writing was borrowed, and the
specific question of bilingualism on the part of the lenders and adapters
of the script.

Final auxiliaries in Asia Minor Greek: A contact explanation

Nicolaos Neocleous (Dept. of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics)

The minimalist programme is manifested by the central idea that language is in some sense a perfect system (the strong minimalist thesis: see Chomsky (1995:1-10), (2000:96f.), (2001:1-2)). According to the aforementioned thesis, a perfect system cannot vary over time. Within this framework, it has been claimed that contact-induced change may result typologically unusual linguistic systems (see Harris & Cambell, 1995). Against this background, and in line with Biberauer et al (2008), I suggest that word-order contact-induced change is constrained in exactly the same way as change that may be less directly contact-induced. In this study, I will present data from Asia Minor Greek that support this hypothesis. Asia Minor Greek is a cluster of varieties that were originally spoken in the area historically known as Asia Minor (today central Turkey). Asia Minor Greek speakers were bilingual in Greek and Turkish, a situation that gave rise to contact-induced syntactic change.

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