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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2022

Language contact in northern Asia

Brigitte Pakendorf


Due to the severe climatic conditions in northern Asia, throughout their history the autochthonous populations have largely subsisted by hunting and fishing, with cattle and horse pastoralism developing in the southern steppes. Population densities in this region have therefore always been low, and yet there is evidence for contact-induced changes in the languages of northern Asia that can be traced to different periods of time. The indigenous languages have influenced each other for many centuries and even millennia, resulting in more or less pronounced structural convergence. This can be shown to be due to substrate influence, when foraging groups shifted to the languages of expanding pastoralists, but also to adstrate influence resulting from situations of long-term bi- and multilingualism. More recently, the colonization of the area by major regional powers (Russia, mainly, but also China and Japan) has had an impact not only on the lexicon and structure of the autochthonous languages, but also on their vitality. In this chapter, the different layers and kinds of contact-induced changes in the languages of northern Asia will be described, both those due to contact among indigenous languages as well as those resulting from the impact of colonization.


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Dates et versions

hal-03610588 , version 1 (16-03-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03610588 , version 1


Brigitte Pakendorf. Language contact in northern Asia. Edward Vajda; José Andrés Alonso de la Fuente. World of Linguistics, Volume 10: The Languages and Linguistics of Northern Asia: A Comprehensive Guide, In press. ⟨hal-03610588⟩
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