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Lexical imposition: Old Norse vocabulary in Scottish Gaelic

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A population of Norse settlers in the Northern and Western Isles of Scotland eventually shifted from Old Norse to the contemporary Gaelic of the established community. Although little direct evidence of the sociolinguistic conditions of the contact situation exists, an unusual sound pattern found among the words transferred from Old Norse into Scottish Gaelic suggests that an unexpectedly large number of words beginning with /s/+[stop] clusters were transferred under Norse-speaker agency (viaimposition) rather than under Gaelic-speaker agency (viaborrowing).

Keywords: Old Norse; Scottish Gaelic; consonant mutation; language contact; language shift; lexical transfer; morphophonology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Truman State University

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • International Journal for Historical Linguistics

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