Language Contact and Evolution



9 Questions

What is language contact?

What are some phenomena that can result from language contact?

What is the most common way that languages influence each other?

What is language shift?

What is stratal influence?

What is a possible outcome of language contact between people without a common language?

What is a possible outcome of language contact between sign languages and oral languages?

What is code-switching?

What is the direction of influence of language when it is one-sided?


Language Contact and Its Influence on Language Evolution

  • Language contact refers to the interaction between speakers of two or more languages or dialects that can influence each other.
  • Sociolinguistics, corpus linguistics, and formal linguistics are used to study language contact.
  • Language contact can result in phenomena such as language convergence, borrowing, and relexification, leading to the development of pidgins, creoles, code-switching, and mixed languages.
  • Multilingualism has been common throughout human history, and most people in the world today are multilingual.
  • The most common way that languages influence each other is the exchange of words (lexical diffusion).
  • The borrowing of basic characteristics of a language such as morphology and grammar can also occur.
  • The direction of influence of a language can be one-sided, mutual, or non-mutual.
  • Language shift can occur when one language has a higher social position, leading to language endangerment or extinction.
  • Stratal influence can occur when people retain features of the substratum as they learn the new language, leading to the development of a new variety.
  • Language contact can also lead to the development of new languages when people without a common language interact closely, resulting in the formation of pidgins and creoles or mixed languages.
  • Language contact can affect only a particular segment of a speech community, leading to dialectal and sub-cultural change.
  • Language contact can also happen between sign languages or between sign languages and oral languages.


Test your knowledge on language contact and its influence on language evolution with this informative quiz! Learn about the various phenomena that can occur when speakers of different languages interact and how this can lead to the development of new languages, dialects, and speech varieties. Explore the different ways that languages can influence each other and the factors that determine the direction of this influence. Whether you're a linguistics enthusiast or just curious about how languages evolve over time, this quiz is sure to challenge and enlighten you.

Ready to take the quiz?

Play Quiz