Laryngeal stop systems in contact: Connecting present-day acquisition findings and historical contact hypotheses

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This article examines the linguistic forces at work in present-day second language and bilingual acquisition of laryngeal contrasts, and to what extent these can give us insight into the origin of laryngeal systems of Germanic voicing languages like Dutch, with its contrast between prevoiced and unaspirated stops. The results of present-day child and adult second language acquisition studies reveal that both imposition and borrowing may occur when the laryngeal systems of a voicing and an aspirating language come into contact with each other. A scenario is explored in which socially dominant Germanic-speaking people came into contact with a Romance-speaking population, and borrowed the Romance stop system.

Keywords: Germanic; acquisition; aspiration; language contact; laryngeal phonology; voicing

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • International Journal for Historical Linguistics
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