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Book description

Language contact - the linguistic and social outcomes of two or more languages coming into contact with each other - starts with the emergence of multilingual populations. Multilingualism involving plurilingualism can have various consequences beyond borrowing, interference, and code-mixing and -switching, including the emergence of lingua francas and new language varieties, as well as language endangerment and loss. Bringing together contributions from an international team of scholars, this Handbook - the second in a two-volume set - engages the reader with the manifold aspects of multilingualism and provides state-of-the-art research on the impact of population structure on language contact. It begins with an introduction that presents the history of the scholarship on the subject matter. The chapters then cover various processes and theoretical issues associated with multilingualism embedded in specific population structures worldwide as well as their outcomes. It is essential reading for anybody interested in how people behave linguistically in multilingual or multilectal settings.


‘In this two-volume Cambridge handbook, Mufwene and Escobar have assembled four dozen novel studies on linguistic change, as induced or conditioned by migration, language contact, multilingualism and population structure. This hefty new reference work provides an important resource on language change in the living context of human societies.’

George van Driem - Chair of Historical Linguistics, University of Bern

‘What a treasure! - two volumes, 47 chapters, written by the foremost authorities, dazzling in the depth and breadth of its coverage of all aspects of language contact. A truly monumental contribution, destined to be the go-to reference for decades to come.’

Lyle Campbell - University of Hawai'i, Mānoa

‘With its global scope and inclusive approach, this work offers the most comprehensive overview of language contact to date. With contributions from leading specialists in each topic and region under the leadership of Mufwene and Escobar, the Handbook provides authoritative and state-of-the-art coverage of a vibrant and rapidly evolving field.’

Stephen Matthews - University of Hong Kong

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