Bilingual and Multilingual Language Use: Knowledge, Comprehension, and Production

Two Linguistic Systems in Contact: Grammar, Phonology, and Lexicon



This chapter outlines some of the recent findings in the domain of language contact, focusing on three sub-domains of the language system: morpho-syntax; phonology; and lexicon. I will treat these in two clusters. The problem is that although there are findings in individual areas in sub-domains, so far these have not been integrated into a single perspective, let alone a single model encompassing these three sub-domains.

I will first discuss the sub-domains of morpho-syntax, followed by phonology and lexicon together. I then turn to what I think is currently a crucial issue, namely research methodology.

I will continue to use the metaphor implied in the title of this chapter (<systems in contact>), but it is important to note that languages can only be in contact through speakers, interacting with each other in different languages and processing several languages at the same time.

An excellent overview of the field is provided in Winford (2003), but what is needed is a book in which findings from bilingual processing studies are fully integrated with those from language contact studies. (See also Siegel, chapter 21, this volume.)


At present the fields of code-switching and morpho-syntactic interference are organized as separate domains of inquiry. The difference between them is simple: ...

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