Special Issue "Investigating Language Contact and New Varieties"

Janelle Yang's picture
Call for Papers
Subject Fields: 
Linguistics, Languages

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are currently inviting submissions for a Special Issue of Languages entitled “Investigating Language Contact and New Varieties”.

Language contact is at a stage where it is accepted as a proper scientific and multi-disciplinary area of study. As Hickey (2010a: 1) asserts, it becomes evident by a wealth of recent literature, most notable of which are handbooks that take on different aspects of contact studies in scrutiny (Hickey 2010b, Grant 2020, Adamou and Matras 2021). Although occasional criticisms exist on scholars’ failure to achieve consensus on the classification of contact phenomena as well as on the processes underlying different types of contact-induced change (e.g., Winford 2020: 55), many scholars since Weinreich’s (1953) groundwork have proposed sound and refined interdisciplinary frameworks for the study of contact-induced change (among others, Thomason and Kaufman 1988; van Coetsem 1988; Johanson 2002; Thomason 2001, 2003; Matras 2009) and/or have passed another milestone towards understanding how contact-induced change is actuated at the psycholinguistic level (De Bot 2001; Paradis 2004; Kroll and De Groot 2005; Aboh 2006, 2015), how it is propagated within the society (among others, Mufwene 2001, Ansaldo 2009, Trudgill 2010), what possible linguistic outcomes it yields in different historical settings and how much predictability force we can derive from these studies (Gardani et al. 2015, Ralli 2019, to appear, Gardani 2020). These studies have also shown that there is a plethora of types of contact varieties, ranging from (subtypes of bilingual) mixed languages to ethnolects or indigenized L2 varieties, from creoles to interlanguages. Our understanding of the dynamics and results of language contact grows exponentially with each study unraveling a new contact variety or specific aspects of contact-induced phenomena in lesser-known contact varieties. As O’Shannessy (2021: 343) righteously states for mixed languages, we do not know “whether there are significantly more Mixed Languages spoken than those currently documented, and whether the types of Mixed Language attested so far exhaust the types that are possible.” The same, we claim, is valid for the totality of the contact varieties. We subscribe to the widely held claim that contact is what happens between the coexisting/competing linguistic systems in the mind of the same speaker, let these be languages, dialects, or idiolects. Against this background, we expect that language contact is more pervasive than we conceive of, although the field has to date focused on varieties that could somehow constitute “prototypical cases” of contact.

In this Special Issue, we intend to bring together work that contributes to the field of contact linguistics with empirical coverage of new contact varieties. We mean by new varieties both contact varieties that are today emerging as conventionalized varieties (as defined in Kerswill 2010) and contact varieties that are un(der)represented in the literature on language contact.

Areas of investigation include, but are not limited to:

  1. empirical coverage on newly emerging contact varieties, such as different ethnolects/indigenized varieties, interlanguages, mixed languages;
  2. testing theoretical proposals against data from such newly emerging varieties;
  3. specific contact-phenomena in understudied language systems.

We welcome contributions from approaches ranging from fully descriptive to formal and experimental paradigms.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400–600 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please, send it to the guest editors, Angela Ralli (ralli@upatras.gr) and Metin Bağrıaçık (metin.bagriacik@boun.edu.tr) as well as to Languages editorial office (languages@mdpi.com). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

Tentative completion schedule:

Abstract submission deadline: 31 March 2021

Notification of abstract acceptance: 1 May 2021

Full manuscript deadline: 15 January 2022


Aboh, Enoch O. 2006. The role of the syntax-semantics interface in language transfer. In L2 acquisition and creole genesis: Dialogues, ed. by Claire Lefebvre, Lydia White and Christine Jourdan, 221–252. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Aboh, Enoch O. 2015. The emergence of hybrid grammars. Language contact and change. Cambridge: CUP.

Adamou, Evangelia and Yaron Matras (eds.). 2021. The Routledge handbook of language contact. London and NY: Routledge.

Ansaldo, Umberto. 2009. Contact languages: ecology and evolution in Asia. Cambridge: CUP.

de Bot, Kees. 2001. A bilingual production model: Levelt’s ‘SPEAKING’ model adapted. In The bilingualism reader, ed. by Li Wei, 420–441. London and NY: Rourledge.

van Coetsem, Frans. 1988. Loan phonology and the two transfer types in language contact. Dordrecht: Foris.

Gardani, Francesco. 2020. Morphology and contact-induced language change. In Grant 2020, 96-127.

Gardani, Francesco, Peter Arkadiev and Nino Amiridge (eds.). 2015. Borrowed morphology. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Hickey, Raymond. 2010a. Language contact: reconsideration and reassessment. In Hickey 2010b, 1–28.

Hickey, Raymond (ed.). 2010b. The handbook of language contact. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Grant, Anthony P (ed.). 2020. The Oxford handbook of language contact. Oxford, UK: OUP.

Johanson, Lars. 2002. Contact-induced change in a code-copying framework. In Language change, ed. by Mari C. Jones and Edith Esch, 285–314. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Kerswill, Paul. 2010. Contact and new varieties. In Hickey 2010, 230–251.

Kroll, Judith F. and de Groot, Annette M. B. (eds.). 2005. Handbook of bilingualism: psycholinguistic approaches. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Matras, Yaron. 2009. Language contact. Cambridge: CUP.

Mufwene, Salikoko S. 2001. The ecology of language evolution. Cambridge: CUP.

O’Shannessy, Carmel. 2021. Mixed languages. In Adamou and Matras 2021, 325–348.

Paradis, Michel. 2004. A neurolinguistics theory in bilingualism. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Ralli, Angela. 2019. Greek in contact with Romance. The Oxford Research Encyclopedia in Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ralli, Angela. To appear. Contrasting Romance and Turkish as source languages: evidence from borrowing verbs in Modern Greek Dialects. Journal of Language Contact.

Thomason, Sarah G. 2001. Language contact. An introduction. Edinburgh: EUP.

Thomason, Sarah G. 2003. Contact as a source of language change. In The handbook of historical linguistics, ed. by Brian D. Joseph and Richard D. Janda, 687–712. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Thomason, Sarah G. and Terrence Kaufman. 1988. Language contact, creolization, and genetic linguistics. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Trudgill, Peter. 2010. Contact and sociolinguistic typology. In Hickey 2010, 299–319.

Weinreich, Uriel. 1953. Languages in contact: findings and problems. NY: Linguistic Circle of New York (ninth edition, reprinted in 1979; The Hague: Mouton).

Winford, Donald. 2020. Theories of language contact. In Grant 2020, 51–75.

Prof. Angela Ralli
Dr. Metin Bagriacik
Guest Editors


  • language contact
  • new contact varieties
  • mixed languages
  • new-dialect formation
  • creoles
  • immigrant languages
Contact Info: 

Ms. Janelle Yang
Assistant Editor
Email: janelle.yang@mdpi.com


MDPI Branch Office, Beijing
{$journal_name_short} Editorial Office
E-mail: {$journal_name_system}@mdpi.com

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