Mixed language


Mixed language

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

Contents

Definitions

"Every language is mixed to some extent."[1] But few languages are "mixed languages" in the specific sense here:

A mixed language differs from a pidgin in that the speakers developing the language are fluent, even native, speakers of both languages, whereas a pidgin develops when groups of people with little knowledge of each other's languages come into contact and have need of a basic communication system, as for trade, but do not have enough contact to learn each other's language.

In a mixed language, both source languages are clearly identifiable. This differs from a creole language, which generally has one identifiable parent, in addition to diverse input which cannot be traced to any particular language. While creoles tend to have drastically simplified morphologies, mixed languages often retain the inflectional complexities of both parent languages.

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.

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). English developed from such a situation, incorporating many Norman borrowings into Anglo-Saxon, but it is not considered a mixed language.

Examples

Genuine mixed languages include:

  • Michif, a mixture of French and Cree, where the nouns and adjectives tend to be French (including agreement), and the polysynthetic verbs are entirely Cree. There are two simultaneous gender systems, French masculine/feminine as well as Cree animate/inanimate, and the Cree obviative (fourth person).
  • Mednyj Aleut, a mixture of Russian and Aleut, which retains Aleut verbs but has replaced most of the inflectional endings with their Russian equivalents.
  • Cappadocian Greek, comprising mostly Greek root words, but with many Turkish grammatical endings and Turkish vowel harmony, and no gender.
  • Mbugu or Ma’a, an inherited East Cushitic vocabulary with a borrowed Bantu morphology in one of two registers, the other register being Bantu.
  • Media Lengua, an inherited Quechua grammar and phonology with a borrowed Spanish lexicon (see relexification).
  • Light Warlpiri, with Kriol verbs and verbal morphology and Warlpiri nouns and nominal morphology, in addition to numerous English loan words.
  • Gurindji Kriol, which emerged from code-switching between Australian Kriol and Gurindji. This mixed language is structurally similar to Light Warlpiri.
  • Erromintxela, which derives most of its lexicon from Kalderash Romani but uses Basque grammar and syntax.
  • Bonin Mixed Language, of the Bonin Islands, a mixture of American English and Japanese with additional Polynesian and Melanesian influences[2].

The histories of these languages differ. Michif and Mednyj Aleut appear to have risen through the mixture and intermarriage of two bilingual peoples, French with Cree and Russian with Aleut. Cappadocian Greek and Media Lengua, on the other hand, appear to have arisen as minority languages (Greek and Quechua) shifted under the influence of the surrounding majority language (Turkish and Spanish). While the Greek and Quechua were bilingual in Turkish and Spanish, the reverse was not true. The history of Mbugu is not known.

Possible examples include:

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Zuckermann (2009) p. 48, where he also cites Hjelmslev (1938) and Schuchardt (1884).
  2. ^ Long, Daniel and Hashimoto, Naoyuki. Talking Dictionary of the Bonin Islands Language

General references

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Thomason, Sarah and Terrence Kaufman (1988). Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07893-4. 
  • Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (2009). "Hybridity versus Revivability: Multiple Causation, Forms and Patterns." Journal of Language Contact, Varia 2:40-67.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • mixed language — noun One which contains elements (eg vocabulary, syntax) from two or more separate languages • • • Main Entry: ↑mix …   Useful english dictionary

  • mixed language — noun A language formed by combining two languages, keeping elements of the grammar of both …   Wiktionary

  • Cakchiquel-Quiché Mixed Language — ISO 639 3 Code : ckz ISO 639 2/B Code : ISO 639 2/T Code : ISO 639 1 Code : Scope : Individual Language Type : Living …   Names of Languages ISO 639-3

  • Language contact — occurs when two or more languages or varieties interact. The study of language contact is called contact linguistics. Multilingualism has likely been common throughout much of human history, and today most people in the world are multilingual.[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Mixed — is the past tense of mix. It may also refer to: Mixed breed, an animal whose parents are from different breeds or species Mixed anomaly, in theoretical physics, an example of an anomaly Mixed data sampling, an econometric model developed by… …   Wikipedia

  • Language transfer — (also known as L1 interference, linguistic interference, and crossmeaning) refers to speakers or writers applying knowledge from their native language to a second language. It is most commonly discussed in the context of English language learning …   Wikipedia

  • Language merger — Language merger, in linguistics, is a theoretical phenomenon whereby two or more distinct languages combine to form a single language. It is a controversial concept among linguists, who are divided over whether it represents an actual phenomenon …   Wikipedia

  • Language family — See also: List of language families A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto language of that family. The term family comes from the tree model of language origination in… …   Wikipedia

  • Mixed receptive-expressive language disorder — Classification and external resources ICD 9 315.32 Mixed receptive expressive language disorder (DSM IV 315.32) is a communication disorder in which both the receptive and expressive areas of communication may be affected in any degree, from mild …   Wikipedia

  • Mixed Blood Theatre Company — Mixed Blood Theatre Address 1501 South Fourth St. City Minneapolis, MN 55454 Country …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.