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Lars Johanson (Mainz) & Éva Csató (Uppsala): The Creativity of Languages in Code-Copying (Language, Communication & Cognition)

Lecturer(s)Lars Johanson & Éva Csató
Contact personUta Reinöhl
DateFriday, 1st December 2023, 10:15 - 11:45
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The Creativity of Languages in Code-Copying


The talk presents Lars Johanson’s Code-Copying Model, an integrated framework for the description of contact-induced processes. The model covers the main contact linguistic issues in their synchronic and diachronic interrelationship. The terminology is kept intuitive and simple to apply.
The model argues that copying is not ‘dangerous’, and does not lead to “structuritis”, i.e. to the decline and ensuing death of languages. On the contrary, it is a creative process, which can increase the strength of the copying code by facilitating bi- or multilingual speakers’ communication. Code-copying under certain circumstances can contribute essentially to the stability of high-copying languages. The example of the Turkic language Karaim will illustrate this point.
Illustrative examples from selected languages will demonstrate the model’s applicability to both spoken and written codes. The fundamental difference between ‘take-over’ copying and ‘carry-over’ copying will be given special value. Speakers can take over copies from a secondary code into their own primary code, or alternatively carry over copies from their own primary code into their variety of a secondary code. The results of these two types of copying are significantly different and thus provide insights into historical processes.

Johanson, Lars 2023. Code Copying. The strength of languages in take-over and carry-over roles. (Brill Studies in Language, Cognition and Culture 38). Leiden: Brill.

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