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Konvergens och grammatiska lån i minoritetsspråk till följd av långvarig språkkontakt : en jämförelse av nahuatl, ainu och romansh.


  • Hilda Appelgren

Summary, in English

Language contact poses many questions in regards to language change, one of which is the question of whether some features are more easily transferable between languages than others. Previous research has mainly focused on either areal features in so-called Sprachbunds in large quantitative studies, or single language situations. The present study attempts to bridge the gap between these two different approaches by investigating contact-induced change in three separate minority languages, in order to enable insights into both similarities and differences between the linguistic changes, as well as a more than shallow analysis of each linguistic situation. In the present study, grammatical change was investigated in Nahuatl after contact with Spanish, Ainu after contact with Japanese, and Romansh after contact with German. Grammars of classical and modern versions of the minority languages were reviewed along with previous comparative studies, and discovered cases of convergence and grammatical loans in the minority languages were thereafter analysed, sorted into relevant grammatical categories, and compared. Results show that morphological complexity was reduced in all minority languages, while word order and head/dependent marking was subject to change where these systems were different at the point of contact; word order change occurred in Nahuatl and Romansh, and head/dependent marking underwent changes in Nahuatl and Ainu. Suggestions for further research include a more extensive combination of internal and external factors, more research into convergence in Ainu, an in-depth comparison of rhaeto-romance languages and other languages in Switzerland, as well as comparative research on Nahuatl dialects.

Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • language contact
  • borrowability
  • convergence
  • grammatical loans
  • minority languages
  • contact-induced change
  • comparative linguistics
  • nahuatl
  • ainu
  • romansh


  • Arthur Holmer (docent)
  • Gerd Carling