Contact, language change, and ideology in contexts of language minority

Main researcher : 
Team members: 
Carmen Múñiz Cachón
Ana María Iglesias Álvarez
Gabriel Rei-Doval

Studies on language change in situations of language contact have often focused on lexical, morphological, and phonetic aspects, attempting to analyze the factors that condition the processes of language change and whether or not these changes were induced by the situation of language contact. In addition, in contexts of language minority, where the languages ​​in contact are in a situation of inequality, as is the case of Galician and Asturian, such research seeks to identify in the less prestigious language (language B) the linguistic components that are most affected by the contact with the more prestigious language (language A) or that are more accepting of innovations coming from that language. Research also centers on studying which varieties of the B language are more resistant to convergence and therefore maintain forms that diverge from the A language or the corresponding standard variety.

The project currently centers on shifting towards the speaker the focus of attention to the structural effects caused by linguistic contact, thus conceptualizing speakers as the locus of contact. Thus, the project aims to consider linguistic ideologies as one of the factors that can condition the dynamics of linguistic variation and change resulting from contact between languages ​​and between varieties. Thus, we conceive of linguistic ideologies as the cultural system of ideas about linguistic relations, social conditions that condition the value that speakers attach to language, their attitudes, and the way they forge their identities.

Our two main goals are:

1. To establish a methodology for the analysis of linguistic ideologies as a factor that intervenes in the processes of contact-induced language change.

2. To analyze speakers’ linguistic ideologies and their role in contact-induced processes of language change in situations in which one of the two languages ​​in contact is a minority language.

Methodologically, the project proposes the compilation of a corpus for Galicia and another for Asturias.  The approach for such corpus must necessarily be interactional, with a view to exploring the way in which linguistic ideologies circulate in a community, how to access these ideologies, and also how such ideologies can be challenged and mitigated. Thus, we will start from the framework offered by Interactional Sociolinguistics and combine it with analytical resources provided by Discourse Analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis.

Execution date: 
2020 to 2023
Funded by: 
FEDER/Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades – Agencia Estatal de Investigación/ Proxecto PID2019-110352GB-I00.