Mixed language

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A mixed language is a language that arises through the fusion of usually two source languages, normally in situations of thorough bilingualism (Meakins, 2013), so that it is not possible to classify the resulting language as belonging to either of the language families that were its sources. Although the concept is frequently encountered in historical linguistics from the early 20th century, attested cases of language mixture, as opposed to code-switching, substrata, or lexical borrowing, are quite rare. Furthermore, a mixed language may mark the appearance of a new ethnic or cultural group.

Definitions[edit]

A mixed language is a language that combines the grammatical elements of one language and the lexical items of another language. Typically, there is bilingualism in one of the groups, though this is not a requirement.

Every language is mixed to some extent[1] but few languages are "mixed languages" in the specific sense meant here. In the late 19th century, the term "mixed language" had an ambiguous definition that has since been narrowed to a language that combines lexical items and grammar of two (or more) languages that can be easily identified. Since then, competing hypotheses of what constitutes a mixed language have been posited.[citation needed]

There is some disagreement among researchers about the precise definition of a mixed language, though the basic criteria are: contact situation between two languages, bilingualism in at least one of the two groups in contact, a clear differentiation between the mixed language and the languages being mixed, and minimal simplification of the elements from each language.[citation needed]

Yaron Matras distinguishes between three types of models for mixed language: “language maintenance and language shift, unique and predetermined processes (“intertwining”), and conventionalisation of language mixing patterns.” The first model involves the use of one language for heavy substitutions of entire grammatical paradigms or morphology of another language. This is because a speech community will not adopt a newer dominant language, and so adapt their language with grammatical material from the dominant language. Bakker (1997) argues that mixed languages result from mixed populations. Languages “intertwine,” in that the morphosyntax (provided by female native speakers) mixes with the lexicon of another language (spoken by men, often in a colonialist context). This appears to have been the case with Michif, where European men and Cree, Nakota, and Ojibwe women had offspring who learned a mixture of French and Cree. The third model “assumes a gradual loss of the conversational function of language alternation as a means of expressing contrast.” In other words, language no longer becomes a means of differentiation between two speech communities as a result of language mixing.[citation needed]

Thomason (1995) classifies mixed languages into two categories. Category 1 languages exhibit "heavy influence from the dominant group's language in all aspects of structure and grammar as well as lexicon." (Winford 171). Category 2 languages show a "categorial specificity of the structural borrowing," or a uniform borrowing of specific categories (Winford).[citation needed]

Mixed language and intertwined language are seemingly interchangeable terms for some researchers. Some use the term "intertwining" instead of "mixing" because the former implies "mixture of two systems which are not necessarily the same order" nor does it suggest "replacement of the either the lexicon or of the grammatical system", unlike relexification, massive grammatical replacement, and re-grammaticalization. The grammar of a mixed language typically comes from a language well known to first generation speakers, which Arends claims is the language spoken by the mother. This is because of the close relationship between mother and child and the likelihood that the language is spoken by the community at large.[citation needed]

Arends et al. classify an intertwined language as a language that "has lexical morphemes from one language and grammatical morphemes from another". This definition does not include Michif, which combines French lexical items in specific contexts, but still utilizes Cree lexical and grammatical items.[citation needed]

Yaron Matras distinguishes between three types of models for mixed language: “language maintenance and language shift, unique and predetermined processes (“intertwining”), and conventionalisation of language mixing patterns.” The first model involves the use of one language for heavy substitutions of entire grammatical paradigms or morphology of another language. This is because a speech community will not adopt a newer dominant language, and so adapt their language with grammatical material from the dominant language. Bakker (1997) argues that mixed languages result from mixed populations. Languages “intertwine,” in that the morphosyntax (provided by female native speakers) mixes with the lexicon of another language (spoken by men, often in a colonialist context). This appears to have been the case with Michif, where European men and Cree, Nakota, and Ojibwe women had offspring who learned a mixture of French and Cree. The third model “assumes a gradual loss of the conversational function of language alternation as a means of expressing contrast.” In other words, language no longer becomes a means of differentiation between two speech communities as a result of language mixing.[2]

Lexical Reorientation, according to Matras, is defined as "the conscious shifting of the linguistic field that is responsible for encoding meaning or conceptual representations away from the language in which linguistic interaction is normally managed, organised, and processed: speakers adopt in a sense one linguistic system to express lexical meaning (or symbols, inthe Buhlerian sense of the term) and another to organize the relations among lexical symbols, as well as within sentences, utterances, and interaction. The result is a split, by source language, between lexicon and grammar.”[2]

Differentiation with other language mixtures[edit]

A mixed language differs from pidgin and creole languages and code-switching in very fundamental ways. Mixed language speakers are fluent, even native, speakers of both languages. Pidgins, on the other hand, develop in a situation, usually in the context of trade, where speakers of two (or more) different languages come into contact and need to find some way to communicate with each other. This contrasts with mixed languages, where speakers tend to be fluent in one or both of the source languages. Creoles develop when a pidgin language becomes a native language for young speakers. While creoles tend to have drastically simplified morphologies, mixed languages often retain the inflectional complexities of both parent languages.[citation needed]

Finally, a mixed language differs from code-switching, such as Spanglish or Portuñol, in that, once it has developed, the fusion of the source languages is fixed in the grammar and vocabulary, and speakers do not need to know the source languages in order to speak it. But, linguists believe that mixed languages evolve from persistent code-switching, with younger generations picking up the code-switching, but not necessarily the source languages that generated it.[citation needed]

Yaron Matras distinguishes between three types of models for mixed language: “language maintenance and language shift, unique and predetermined processes (“intertwining”), and conventionalisation of language mixing patterns.” The first model involves the use of one language for heavy substitutions of entire grammatical paradigms or morphology of another language. This is because a speech community will not adopt a newer dominant language, and so adapt their language with grammatical material from the dominant language. Bakker (1997) argues that mixed languages result from mixed populations. Languages “intertwine,” in that the morphosyntax (provided by female native speakers) mixes with the lexicon of another language (spoken by men, often in a colonialist context). This appears to have been the case with Michif French, where European men and Cree, Nakota, and Ojibwe women had offspring who learned a mixture of French and Cree. The third model “assumes a gradual loss of the conversational function of language alternation as a means of expressing contrast.” In other words, language no longer becomes a means of differentiation between two speech communities as a result of language mixing.

Lexical Reorientation, according to Matras, is defined as "the conscious shifting of the linguistic field that is responsible for encoding meaning or conceptual representations away from the language in which linguistic interaction is normally managed, organised, and processed: speakers adopt in a sense one linguistic system to express lexical meaning (or symbols, inthe Buhlerian sense of the term) and another to organize the relations among lexical symbols, as well as within sentences, utterances, and interaction. The result is a split, by source language, between lexicon and grammar.” Most portmanteau language names, such as Franglais and Anglo-Romani, are not mixed languages, or even examples of code-switching, but registers of a language (here French and English), characterized by large numbers of loanwords from a second language (here English and Romani). Middle English (the immediate fore-runner of Modern English) developed from such a situation, incorporating many Norman borrowings into Old English, but it is not considered a mixed language.[citation needed]

Cases of mixed languages[edit]

Michif[edit]

See also: Michif

Michif derives nouns, numerals, definite/indefinite articles, possessive pronouns, some adverbs and adjectives from French, while it derives demonstratives (in/animate), question words, verbs (in/animacy agreement with the subject/object), and some adverbs/verb-like adjectives from Cree.[3] The Cree components of Michif generally remain grammatically intact, while the French lexicon and grammar is restricted to noun phrases where nouns occur with a French possessive element or article (i.e. in/definite, masculine/feminine, singular/plural).[4][5] Further, many speakers of Michif are able to identify the French and Cree components of a given sentence, likely from the phonological and morphological features of words. Although the phonological systems of both French and Cree are generally independent in Michif, there is convergence in 1) mid-vowel raising, 2) sibilant harmony, 3) vowel length (e.g. French vowel pairs [i]/[ɪ] and [a]/[ɑ] differ in length as in Cree), and 4) instances where the three nasal vowels /æ̃/, /ũ/, and /ĩ/ occur in the Cree components, although this last point of convergence may be due to Ojibwe influence.[6] Scholars propose that, in the Métis multilingual community, Michif emerged as a need to symbolize a new social identity.[7] The first unambiguous mention of Michif dates to the 1930s.[8]

The Metis of St. Laurent, a tribe of indigenous people in Canada, were made to feel their language was a sign of inferiority by nuns, priests, and other missionaries who insisted that the Metis switch to Standard Canadian French. Because missionaries and Bretons stigmatized Michif French as an inferior, "bastardized" form of French Canadian, the Metis began to develop a sense of inferiority and shame which they associated with speaking Michif. [Guy], a Metis and native speaker of Michif, claims that the Metis people also used speaking Michif as a way of idenitifying themseleves as a distinct group, and thus the language survived. Nonetheless, it became taboo to speak Michif inter-ethnically.[9]

In an attempt to make students unlearn Michif French, some nuns used a "token-system" in which each student was given ten tokens each week, and for every use of Michif French, a student would have to surrender a token. Students with the most tokens were rewarded with a prize. Overall, this system did not work.[9]

Mednyj Aleut[edit]

See also: Mednyj Aleut

Mednyj Aleut is identified as a mixed language composed of mostly intact systematic components from two typologically and genetically unrelated languages: Aleut and Russian. This mixed language’s grammar and lexicon are both largely Aleut in origin, while the finite verb morphology, a whole grammatical subsystem, is primarily of Russian origin. Nonetheless, there are some syntactic patterns with Russian influence and some Aleut features in the finite verb complex such as, 1) a topic-number agreement pattern, 2) Aleut pronouns with unaccusatives, 3) the Aleut agglutinative tense + number + person/number pattern in one of two alternative past-tense forms. Scholars hypothesize that due to the elaborate Russian and Aleut components of Mednyj Aleut, the Aleut/Russian creoles in which the mixed language arose must have been fluent bilinguals of Aleut and Russian and, therefore, not a pidgin language—that is, “imperfect learning” is usually a feature in the emergence of a pidgin. Furthermore, some code-switching and deliberate decisions likely served as mechanisms for the development of Mednyj Aleut and it is possible that these were motivated by a need for a language that reflected the community’s new group identity.[10]

Ma'a[edit]

See also: Mbugu

Ma’a has primarily Cushitic basic vocabulary and Bantu grammatical structure. Sarah G. Thomason argues for a classification of Ma’a as a mixed language since it does not have enough Cushitic grammar to be genetically related to the Cushitic language. Ma’a and Cushitic share some phonological units (e.g. the voiceless lateral fricative, the voiceless glottal stop, and the voiceless velar fricative that do not occur in Bantu), syntactic structures, derivational processes, and a feature of inflectional morphology. Otherwise, Ma’a and Cushitic structures are generally similar insofar as the Cushitic structures are typologically similar to Bantu structures. Few productive non-lexical structures in Ma’a appear derived from Cushitic. Contrastively, Ma’a has a productive set of inflectional structures derived from Bantu. Ma’a additionally demonstrates phonological structures derived from Bantu—for instance, the prenasalized voiced stops /mb ⁿd ⁿɟ ŋg/, phonemic tones, the absence of pharyngeal fricatives, labialized dorsal stops, ejective and retroflex stops, and final consonants— as well as noun classification, number category, and verb morphology patterns of Bantu. Syntactic and derivational patterns in Ma’a vary between Cushitic and Bantu origins—some Ma’a constructions used, such as genitive and copula constructions, are both from Cushitic and Bantu. These observations, in view of additional language contact cases like Asia Minor Greek, Anglo-Romani, and Mednyj Aleut, suggest that Ma'a arose as a product of massive interference from a Bantu language via intense cultural pressure on a Cushitic-speaking community.[11]

Media Lengua[edit]

Main article: Media Lengua

Media Lengua, also known as Chaupi-shimi, Chaupi-lengua, Chaupi-Quichua, Quichuañol, Chapu-shimi or llanga-shimi,[nb 1][12] (roughly translated to "half language" or "in-between language") is a mixed language that consists of Spanish vocabulary and Quichua grammar, most conspicuously in its morphology. In terms of vocabulary, almost all lexemes (89%[13][14]), including core vocabulary, are of Spanish origin and appear to conform to Quichua phonotactics. Media Lengua is one of the few widely acknowledged examples of a "bilingual mixed language" in both the conventional and narrow linguistic sense because of its split between roots and suffixes.[15][16] Such extreme and systematic borrowing is only rarely attested, and Media Lengua is not typically described as a variety of either Quichua or Spanish. Arends et al. list two languages subsumed under the name Media Lengua: Salcedo Media Lengua and Media Lengua of Saraguro.[17] The northern variety of Media Lengua, found in the province of Imbabura, is commonly referred to as Imbabura Media Lengua[18][19] and more specifically, the dialect varieties within the province are known as Pijal Media Lengua and Anglas Media Lengua.[13]

Scholars indicate that Media Lengua arose largely via relexification mechanisms.[20] Pieter Muysken suggests that the social context in which the language emerged as an intralanguage involved a presence of “acculturated Indians” that neither identified with traditional, rural Quechua nor with urban Spanish cultures. This is an instance of a language developing from a need for “ethnic self-identification”.[21]

Light Warlpiri[edit]

See also: Light Warlpiri

Light Warlpiri, seen as a form of Warlpiri by speakers, derives verbs and verbal morphology largely from Kriol, while nouns are largely from Warlpiri and English and nominal morphology from Warlpiri. Light Warlpiri likely developed as an intralanguage via code-mixing between Warlpiri and either Kriol or English. This code-mixing conventionalized into Light Warlpiri, which is now learned by Lajamanu children as a first language, along with Warlpiri, although Light Warlpiri is often produced first and used in daily interactions with younger speakers and adults within the Lajamanu community. Light Warlpiri is considered a new language for several reasons: 1) Light Warlpiri speakers use an auxiliary verb-system of that older Warlpiri speakers do not while code-mixing, 2) elements are distributed differently in Light Warlpiri than in code-mixing varieties of older Warlpiri speakers, 3) Light Warlpiri is a native language, which indicates stability of the language, and 4) grammatical structures and lexical items from each source language occur consistently in Light Warlpiri.[22]

Gurindji Kriol[edit]

Gurindji Kriol exhibits a structural split between the noun phrase and verb phrase, with Gurindji contributing the noun structure including case-marking, and the verb structure including TAM (tense-aspect-mood) auxiliaries coming from Kriol. In this respect, Gurindji Kriol is classified as a verb-noun (V-N) mixed language. Other examples of V-N mixed languages include Michif and Light Warlpiri. The maintenance of Gurindji within the mixed language can be seen as the perpetuation of Aboriginal identity under massive and continuing cultural incursion.

Asia Minor Greek and Kormakiti Arabic[edit]

Both Asia Minor Greek and Kormakiti Arabic are cases of extreme borrowing— the former from Turkish and the latter from Greek. The Asia Minor Greek dialects display borrowing of vocabulary, function words, derivational morphology, and some borrowed nominal and verbal inflectional morphology from Turkish. Kormakiti Arabic largely shows borrowing of vocabulary, and consequently Greek morphosyntax.[23] These cases, including Ma’a, differ socially from Michif and Mednyj Aleut because they have evolved out of intense language contact, extensive bilingualism, and a strong pressure for speakers to shift to the dominant language. Nonetheless, neither language has an entire grammar and lexicon that is derived from a single historical source and in each case the linguistic group achieves fluent bilingualism. The social context in which they arose largely distinguishes them from pidgins and creoles and, for some scholars, identifies them closely with mixed languages.[24]

Other possible mixed languages[edit]

Possible mixed languages with a Chinese element

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Llanga-shimi is typically a derogatory term used by speakers of Quichua to describe their language. However, it also appears to describe Media Lengua in the Imbabura Communities. It is believed that the term was introduced by Mestizo school teachers to further discredit the indigenous populations
  1. ^ Zuckermann (2009) p. 48, citing Hjelmslev (1938) and Schuchardt (1884).
  2. ^ a b Matras, Yaron, "Mixed Languages: a functional-communicative approach", "Bilingualism: Language and Cognition / Volume 3 / Issue 2 / August 2000 / p. 79 - 99
  3. ^ Arends, Jacques, Pieter Muysken, and Norval Smith. Pidgins and Creoles: An introduction, Creole Language Library. 15. John Benjamins Publishing, 1994. 46. Web. http://books.google.com/books?id=TDA2K3Y0CAYC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
  4. ^ Silva-Corvalán, Carmen. Spanish in Four Continents: Studies in Language Contact and Bilingualism. Georgetown University Press, 1997. 22, 32. Web. http://books.google.com/books?id=XL5Z5E6O0Q4C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
  5. ^ Thomason, Sarah Grey. Contact Languages: A Wider Perspective, Creole Language Library. Issue 17. John Benjamins Publishing, 1997. 323, 327. Web. http://books.google.com/books?id=to6P22ieV5kC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
  6. ^ Thomason, Sarah Grey. Contact Languages: A Wider Perspective, Creole Language Library. Issue 17. John Benjamins Publishing, 1997. 303, 312, 348. Web. http://books.google.com/books?id=to6P22ieV5kC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
  7. ^ Silva-Corvalán, Carmen. Spanish in Four Continents: Studies in Language Contact and Bilingualism. Georgetown University Press, 1997. 30. Web. http://books.google.com/books?id=XL5Z5E6O0Q4C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
  8. ^ Thomason, Sarah Grey. Contact Languages: A Wider Perspective, Creole Language Library. Issue 17. John Benjamins Publishing, 1997. 352. Web. http://books.google.com/books?id=to6P22ieV5kC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
  9. ^ a b Lavalle, Guy http://iportal.usask.ca/docs/Native_studies_review/v7/issue1/pp81-93.pdf
  10. ^ Thomason, Sarah Grey. Contact Languages: A Wider Perspective, Creole Language Library. Issue 17. John Benjamins Publishing, 1997. 449-466. Web. http://books.google.com/books?id=to6P22ieV5kC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
  11. ^ Thomason, Sarah Grey. GENETIC RELATIONSHIP AND THE CASE OF MA'A (MBUGU), Studies in African Linguistics. 14.2. University of Pittsburgh, 1983. Web. http://elanguage.net/journals/sal/article/view/1138/1154.
  12. ^ Pallares, A. (2002). From peasant struggles to Indian resistance: the Ecuadorian Andes in the late twentieth century. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
  13. ^ a b Stewart, Jesse (2011). A Brief Descriptive Grammar of Pijal Media Lengua and an Acoustic Vowel Space Analysis of Pijal Media Lengua and Imbabura Quichua.. (thesis)
  14. ^ Muysken, Pieter (1997). "Media Lengua", in Thomason, Sarah G. Contact languages: a wider perspective Amsterdam: John Benjamins (pp. 365-426)
  15. ^ Backus Ad. 2003. Can a mixed language be conventionalised alternational codeswitching? in Matras & Bakker (eds) The Mixed Language Debate: theoretical and empirical advances Mouton de Gruyter Berlin: 237-/270.
  16. ^ McConvell, Patrick, and Felicity Meakins. 2005. Gurindji Kriol: A Mixed Language Emerges from Code-switching. Quatro Fonologias Quechuas, 25(1), 9-30.
  17. ^ Arends, Muysken, & Smith (1995), Pidgins and Creoles: An Introduction
  18. ^ Gómez-Rendón, J. A. (2008). Mestizaje lingüístico en los Andes: génesis y estructura de una lengua mixta (1era. ed.). Quito, Ecuador: Abya-Yala.
  19. ^ Gómez-Rendón, J. (2005). La Media Lengua de Imbabura. Encuentros conflictos bilingüismo contacto de lenguas en el mundo andino (pp. 39-58). Madrid: Iberoamericana.
  20. ^ Matras, Yaron, and Peter Bakker. The Mixed Language Debate: Theoretical and Empirical Advances, Trends in Linguistics Series. Volume 145. Walter de Gruyter, 2003. 28, 141. Web. http://books.google.com/books?id=qZMRV8y6T8AC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
  21. ^ Thomason, Sarah Grey. Contact Languages: A Wider Perspective, Creole Language Library. Issue 17. John Benjamins Publishing, 1997. 376. Web. http://books.google.com/books?id=to6P22ieV5kC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
  22. ^ Carmel O'Shannessya, Australian Journal of Linguistics, Volume 25, Issue 1, 2005, Special Issue: Language Shift, Code-mixing and Variation, Light Warlpiri: A New Language, pages 31–57: Published online: 18 Jan 2007.
  23. ^ Matras, Yaron, and Peter Bakker. The Mixed Language Debate: Theoretical and Empirical Advances, Trends in Linguistics Series. Volume 145. Walter de Gruyter, 2003. 54. Web. http://books.google.com/books?id=qZMRV8y6T8AC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
  24. ^ Thomason, Sarah Grey, and Terrence Kaufman. Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics. University of California Press, 1991. 107-109. Web. http://books.google.com/books?id=b_6OMfZ1QpUC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
  25. ^ Long, Daniel (2007). English on the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-6671-3. 
  26. ^ Wurm, Mühlhäusler, & Tryon, Atlas of languages of intercultural communication in the Pacific, Asia and the Americas, 1996:682.
  27. ^ Lee-Smith, Mei; Wurm, Stephen (1996). "The Wutun Language". In Stephen Wurm, Peter Mühlhäusler, and Darrell T. Tyron. Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 883–897. ISBN 978-3-11-013417-9. 

General references[edit]

  • Arends, Jacques, Pieter Muysken, and Norvel Smith (1994). Pidgins and Creoles: An Introduction. John Benjamins Publishing. p. 46. 
  • Bakker, Peter (1997). A Language of Our Own: The Genesis of Michif, the Mixed Cree-French Language of the Canadian Metis. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509712-2. 
  • Bakker, P., and M. Mous, eds. (1994). Mixed languages: 15 case studies in language intertwining. Amsterdam: IFOTT. 
  • Matras, Yaron and Peter Bakker, eds. (2003). The Mixed Language Debate: Theoretical and Empirical Advances. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-017776-5. 
  • Meakins, Felicity. 2011. Case-marking in Contact: The Development and Function of Case-Marking in Gurindji Kriol'. Amsterdam: John Benjamins
  • Meakins, Felicity. 2013. Mixed languages. In Bakker, Peter and Yaron Matras (eds)Contact Languages: A Comprehensive Guide Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 159–228.
  • Mous, Maarten. 2003. The making of a mixed language: The case of Ma'a/Mbugu. Creole language library (No. 26). Amsterdam: J. Benjamins Pub. Co.
  • Sebba, Mark (1997). Contact Languages: Pidgins and Creoles. MacMillan. ISBN 0-333-63024-6. 
  • O'Shannessy, Carmel. 2005. Special Issue: Language Shift, Code-mixing and Variation, Light Warlpiri: A New Language. Australian Journal of Linguistics. (25.1).
  • Silva-Corvalán, Carmen (1997). Spanish in Four Continents: Studies in Language Contact and Bilingualism. Georgetown University Press. 
  • Thomason, Sarah Grey (1997). Contact Languages: A Wider Perspective, Creole Language Library. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 303–466. 
  • Thomason, Sarah and Terrence Kaufman (1988). Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07893-4.