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ERIC Number: ED180191
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969
Reference Count: 0
Can One Measure a Sprachbund? A Calculus of Phonemic Distribution for Language Contact.
Afendras, Evangelos A.
Language contact and the resulting interference has long been diagnosed as one of the primary forces behind language change. In cases of multilingual contact within geographically restricted areas, converging changes of the languages in contact have been uncovered and described. The geographic areas characterized by such linguistic situations came to be known as "Sprachbundes" or Language Convergence Areas. The need for an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to convergence led to a search for the quantification of the linguistic dimension. The classic example of a language area has been the Balkan Peninsula, where language, ethnicity, nationalism, politics, religion, and economy have produced a societal variety and some similarities. In this project, several Balkan languages were analysed and the matrices for two-phoneme combinations were constructed by an exhaustive examination of the available lexica. From these matrices were calculated the indices, completeness, symmetry, reflexivity, and transitivity according to the mathematical formulas derived by Farary and Paper. The results indicate that the method can be considered a very efficient one; it establishes and measures convergence with results congruent with those of a totally different model, and it can be applied to any convergence area. (AMH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Laval Univ., Quebec (Quebec). International Center for Research on Bilingualism.
Identifiers: Balkans; Language Contact
Note: Paper presented at meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europana (Vienna, Austria, 1969)