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Dialect Mixture versus Monogenesis in Colonial Varieties: The Inevitability of Canadian English?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 June 2016

Peter Trudgill
Affiliation:
University of Fribourg

Abstract

Similarities between varieties of the same languages can be explained in terms of shared retentions or innovations. Conversely, differences can be explained in terms of new vocabulary items, divergent changes, language contact, and dialect contact. The latter has been challenged by proponents of monogenetic theories. Evidence for and against monogenetic hypotheses are considered on the basis of two case studies. First, I demonstrate that the dialect enclave of Lunenberg County, Nova Scotia, is a mixed colonial dialect. Second, I argue that the phenomenon of Canadian Raising is the result of dialect mixture. The Canadian English data provide evidence for a connection between dialect contact, mixture, and genesis. The data support the idea that there is a deterministic outcome in situations where the target language is not spoken by a prior-existing population, which in turn accounts for why widely separated varieties of English are similar.

Résumé

Résumé

Les similarités entre les variétés d’une même langue peuvent être expliquées en termes de conservations ou d’innovations partagées. Inversement, les différences peuvent être expliquées en termes d’innovations lexicales, de changements divergents, de langues en contact, ainsi que de dialectes en contact. Ce dernier a été remis en question par les adhérents de théories monogénétiques. Les arguments pour et contre les hypothèses monogénétiques sont considérés sur la base de deux études. Dans un premier temps, je démontre que l’enclave dialectale du comté de Lunenberg, en Nouvelle Ecosse, est un dialecte colonial mixte. Par la suite, j’argumente que le phénomène de Canadian Raising est le résultat d’un mélange dialectal. Les données de l’anglais canadien fournissent des preuves pour une relation étroite entre les dialectes en contact, le mélange de dialectes et la genèse de dialecte. Elles appuient l’idée qu’il y a un aboutissement déterministique dans les situations où la langue cible n’est pas parlée par une population préexistante, ce qui rend compte du fait que des variétés d’anglais qui sont géographiquement séparées se ressemblent.

Type
Language Change
Copyright
Copyright © Canadian Linguistic Association 2006

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