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Borrowing and contact intensity: A corpus-driven approach from four Slavic minority languages

Abstract : Numerous studies on language contact document the use of content words and especially nouns in most contact settings, but the correlations are often based on qualitative or questionnaire-based research. The present study of borrowing is based on the analysis of free-speech corpora from four Slavic minority languages spoken in Austria, Germany, Greece, and Italy. The analysis of the data, totalling 34,000 word tokens, shows that speakers from Italy produced significantly more borrowings and noun borrowings than speakers from the other three countries. A Random Forests analysis identifies ‘language’ as the main predictor for the ratio of both borrowings and noun borrowings, indicating the existence of borrowing patterns that individual speakers conform to. Finally, we suggest that the patterns of borrowing that prevail in the communities under study relate to the intensity of contact in the past, and to the presence or absence of literary traditions for the minority languages.
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Evangelia Adamou, Walter Breu, Lenka Scholze, Rachel Shen. Borrowing and contact intensity: A corpus-driven approach from four Slavic minority languages. Journal of Language Contact, Brill Online Books and Journals edition 2016, 9 (3), pp.515-544. ⟨10.1163/19552629-00903004⟩. ⟨halshs-01287057⟩

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