Do languages spoken in multilingual communities converge? A case study of reflexivity marking in Mano and Kpelle

Maria Khachaturyan, George Moroz, Pe Mamy

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkelijulkaisuArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


This paper explores variation in the patterns of reflexivity marking in the Mano language and possible influence from the Kpelle language by using an experimental design with a picture questionnaire. While Kpelle does not have a morphological distinction between reflexive and basic pronouns, the Mano variety spoken by Mano-dominant individuals does possess such a distinction in 3sg. In contrast, the Mano variety spoken by Kpelle-dominant individuals shows a pattern borrowing from Kpelle into Mano, whereby the basic pronoun is used for both coreferential and disjoint readings. In a bilingual village, however, despite daily usage of both languages, almost all speakers from our sample manifest a uniform pattern that aligns closely with the monolingual Mano pattern of reflexivity marking. Therefore, the intensity of contact alone does not predict the amount of influence of Kpelle on Mano. Contrary to predictions by Labov (2010. Principles of linguistic change. Volume 3, Cognitive and cultural factors. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell: 5), we conclude that the languages spoken in a multilingual speech community do not necessarily converge and that a balanced multilingual community may provide enough input to acquire monolingual-like competence, at least according to the specific parameter under investigation. In the long run, however, convergence between Mano and Kpelle could indeed be taking place, with Mano losing its reflexivity contrasts, having already lost the contrast in 3pl.
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 1 toukok. 2024
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä, vertaisarvioitu


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