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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2022
Print publication year:
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Book description

Language contact - the linguistic and social outcomes of two or more languages coming into contact with each other - has been pervasive in human history. However, where histories of language contact are comparable, experiences of migrant populations have been only similar, not identical. Given this, how does language contact work? With contributions from an international team of scholars, this Handbook - the first in a two-volume set - delves into this question from multiple perspectives and provides state-of-the-art research on population movement and language contact and change. It begins with an overview of how language contact as a research area has evolved since the late 19th century. The chapters then cover various processes and theoretical issues associated with population movement and language contact worldwide. It is essential reading for anybody interested in the dynamics of social interactions in diverse contact settings and how the changing ecologies influence the linguistic outcomes.


‘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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