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History and Ecology of Language and languages

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Team webmaster : Anetta KOPECKA, Brigitte PAKENDORF

The role of language contact in language diversification: Even as a case study


  Contact person
Brigitte PAKENDORF

Scientific framework and objectives

Even is a Northern Tungusic language spoken in a number of small communities scattered across northeast Siberia. This dispersed mode of settlement has led to considerable dialectal fragmentation with diversification at the lexical, phonological, morphological, and syntactic level. This diversification can be assumed to be the result of multiple factors: differential retention of ancestral variation, independent innovation, as well as contact with typologically different languages, as well as combinations thereof. The goal of the project is to elucidate the relative impact of these different factors during the differentiation of the dialects, and especially, to what extent language contact played a role. Given that molecular genetic data show intermarriage of different Even groups with their neighbours (Duggan et al. 2013, Pugach et al. 2016), an effect of contact is expected. Nevertheless, multiple causation, with all three of the above-mentioned factors playing a role, is highly probable.

The study focuses on two of the geographically most disparate Even dialects: the westernmost still viable dialect, Lamunkhin, spoken in the village of Sebjan-Küöl in Yakutia, and one of the easternmost dialects, namely the Bystraja dialect spoken in Central Kamchatka. With respect to Lamunkhin Even, the impact of contact with the Turkic language Sakha (Yakut) is striking: among others, it has led to the borrowing of four paradigms of verbal TAM plus subject agreement markers (cf. Pakendorf 2014, 2015, 2019). This project also entails theoretical reflections on the modalities that underlie contact-induced changes in general.


  Publications
  • Andriyanets, V., Daniel, M., Pakendorf, B., 2018, "Discovering dialectal differences based on oral corpora", proc. of Dialogue 2018: 24th international conference on Computational Linguistics and Intellectual Technologies, Moscow, 30 May 2018 -02 June 2018, 17, pp. 24-34
  • Duggan, A., Whitten, M., Wiebe, V., Crawford, M., Butthof, A., Spitsyn, V., Makarov, S., Novgorodov, I., Osakovsky, V., Pakendorf, B., 2013, "Investigating the prehistory of Tungusic peoples of Siberia and the Amur-Ussuri region with complete mtDNA genome sequences and Y-chromosomal markers", PLoS ONE, 8:12, pp. e83570; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083570
  • Pakendorf, B., 2013, "Incipient grammaticalization of a redundant purpose clause marker in Lamunxin Ėven: Contact-induced change or independent innovation?", in Shared Grammaticalization. With special focus on Transeurasian languages, Robbeets, M., Cuyckens, H. (eds), Amsterdam, John Benjamins, pp. 259-283
  • Pakendorf, B., 2013, "The interplay of language-internal variation and contact influence in language change", in The Interplay of Variation and Change in Contact Settings, Léglise, I., Chamoreau, C. (eds), Amsterdam, John Benjamins, pp. 199-227
  • Pakendorf, B., 2014, "Paradigm copying in Tungusic: The Lamunkhin dialect of Ėven and beyond", in Paradigm Change. In the Transeurasian Languages and Beyond, Robbeets, M., Bisang, W. (eds), Amsterdam, New York, John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 287-310
  • Pakendorf, B., 2015, "A comparison of copied morphemes in Sakha (Yakut) and Ėven", in Borrowed Morphology, Gardani, F., Arkadiev, P., Amiridze, N. (eds), Berlin/Boston/Munich, De Gruyter Mouton, pp. 157-187
  • Pakendorf, B., 2019, "Direct copying of inflectional paradigms: Evidence from Lamunkhin Even", Language, 95:3, pp. e364-e380
  • Pakendorf, B., 2020, "Contact and Siberian Languages", in The Handbook of Language Contact, 2nd edition, Hickey, R. (eds), Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 669-688
  • Pakendorf, B., 2022, "Copying form without content. Relexification in ordinary contact-induced change ", Diachronica, Advance Online
  • Pugach, I., Matveev, R., Spitsyn, V., Makarov, S., Novgorodov, I., Osakovsky, V., Stoneking, M., Pakendorf, B., 2016, "The complex admixture history and recent southern origins of Siberian populations", Molecular Biology and Evolution, 33:7, pp. 1777-1795
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