The Role of Children in Language Contact and Change

Carmel O’Shannessy – University of Michigan
Course time: Tuesday/Thursday 11:00 am – 12:50 pm
2325 Mason Hall

See Course Description

The role of children in contact-induced language change is relatively under-explored, as most work on language contact and language change investigates adult speakers. Little is known about when and how the adult speakers developed their speech repertoires, or how their speech styles as children interact with long-term change. Yet in several contexts children learning (a) first language(s) have clearly played a role in contact-induced language change, and recent studies have detailed the contribution of children using empirical data and/or historical records. It appears that children’s roles differ according to context, where contextual factors include age, type of variation, medium of interaction (sign or oral), dialect contact, new dialect or language formation, and/or different degrees of input in the language being acquired. This course will bring together studies of children’s language development in several types of contact situation and attempt to provide a synthesis which links sociolinguistic situations, socio- and psycholinguistic processes, and linguistic outcomes. We will discuss evidence of children’s roles in the nativization of pidgins and creoles (oral and sign), mixed languages, and dialect formation, linking these to evidence of children’s language processing in other instances of first language acquisition.


Connect with us

To stay updated with institute developments as they occur be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to our RSS feed.