Morphological mixing in a contact between Finnish and Estonian Cover Image

Kielten sulautuminen suomen ja viron kontaktissa
Morphological mixing in a contact between Finnish and Estonian

Author(s): Helka Riionheimo
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Eesti Rakenduslingvistika Ühing (ERÜ)
Keywords: morphology; morphophonology; language contact; interference; bilingualism; blending; Ingrian Finnish; Finnish; Estonian

Summary/Abstract: This article examines the morphological and morphophonological mixing that occurs in a contact between two Finnic languages, Finnish (the Ingrian Finnish dialect) and Estonian. Morphology and morphophonology are generally considered resistant to cross-linguistic interference and especially bound morphemes are rarely transferred in language contacts. The contacts between cognate languages represent an exception in this respect and when the contacting languages are genetically closely related and morphologically rich, thereare fewer constraints to morphological borrowing. Morphological mixing is defined here as a phenomenon where morphemes from two different languages are combined within a single word form and in the Finnish–Estonian context, it results in hybrid forms where there is no clear switch from one code to another but the elements blend together. It appears that morphological mixing emerges spontaneously during speech processing by bilingual speakers. The morphological blends seem to result from two mechanisms, the use of productive inflectional processes and the analogical formation based on a large cross-linguistic network of Finnish and Estonian words and word forms.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 20
  • Page Range: 218-239
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: Finnish
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