Introducing the Code-Copying Model

Ad Backus, Anna Verschik

Tilburg University, The Netherlands Tallinn University, Estonia

TP115: Attractiveness: empirical and theoretical perspectives

The Code-Copying Model, developed by Lars Johanson, has been used to describe and explain effects of language contact in various settings, but with a bias for settings that involve a Turkic language. The goal of this paper is to advertise the model to a wider audience, by showing it can be applied to any language contact situation. The model has much to offer to contact linguistics in general, especially the explanatory potential of attractiveness. Language change is notoriously hard to predict, but if we can find out what exactly determines an element’s degree of attractiveness, we can start forming hypotheses. Attractiveness must clearly be a relative notion, in the sense that things are attractive in a given contact situation, with a given pair of languages in a given sociolinguistic setting, rather than in an absolute sense. Further differentiation and relativization of attractiveness appears necessary. As Johanson distinguishes between copying in imposition (L1 > L2) and in adoption (L2 > L1), it may be potentially useful to view separately attractiveness in adoption and in imposition, as they are not necessarily the same. The model views different degrees of copying: an item has material, semantic, combinational and frequential properties that can be copied entirely (corresponds to lexical borrowing) or partially (corresponds to ‘loan morphosyntax’, ‘loan semantics’, etc.). The two types of copying are referred to as global and selective copying respectively. In this light, some units may prove to be attractive for global copying and yet some for selective copying. As the attractiveness of analytic forms has often been referred to in the literature, we are going to present two case studies on copying of analytic verbs/verbal expressions from sociolinguistically different situation: 1) copying from Dutch into the Netherlands Turkish and 2) copying from Estonian into Estonia’s Russian.

Session: Themed Panel (part 1)
Attractiveness: empirical and theoretical perspectives
Thursday, April 3, 2008, 13:45-15:15
room: 01