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Auteur: Camiel HAMANS

Towards a MTV-Sprachbund; How language contact influences prosodic morphological patterns

Abstract/Résumé: Aim This paper aims at showing how American English influences the structure of recipient languages via long distance language contact. Moreover, the examples presented in this paper show how modern languages borrow morphological patterns.Therefore two instances of non-concatenative morphology will be discussed: clipping and blending. Clipping Traditional English clippings are monosyllabic. (1) temp from temperature Recently a new pattern emerged, which became especially popular in modern informal language use: (2a) psycho from psychopath (2b) afro African (2c) sicko sick In (2b) a process of suffixation must have applied after truncation, whereas in (2c) only suffixation applied. This process spread to European languages as for instance Dutch, a language that traditionally also had a preference for monosyllabic clippings (see (3)), but where one finds now trochaic examples as in (4): (3) luit from luitenant (4a) aso asociaal ‘antisocial’ (4b) alto alternatief ‘alternative’ (4c) lullo lul ‘penis’ The original change in preference, from monosyllabic clipped forms to disyllabic, trochaic clippings, implied a change in template preference, which can expressed in terms of re-ranking of constraints. Actually, this reranking of prosodic morphological constraints must have been borrowed, indirectly, by the recipient languages. Blending Blending is a process with a long history in several languages, but that only became frequent in modern English recently. Well known examples of blending are: (5) smog from smoke + fog stagflation from stagnation + inflation Although the process of blend formation seems rather irregular at first sight, the final structure of blends is largely predicable. Moreover, the prosodic structure of the second source word usually predicts the outcome of the blending process. In other European languages blending used to be rare, but becomes more and more familiar under the influence of the language of mass media. In all these languages the prosodic structure of the second source words appear to play adominant role, even if prosodic factors are rarely relevant in word formation processes in these languages. Sprachbund The language of mass media, in short modern informal American English, is so influential that it affects the structure of other modern languages. The result may be called a Sprachbund, not comparable to the Standard Average European Area or the Charlemagne Sprachbund, since the features this Sprachbund shares are still limited in number. However, the term Sprachbund seems appropriate, since the languages discussed here are far removed from each other in other respects, but now come to share prosodic morphological rules.