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Discovering the prehistory of multilingual situations in the lexicon
An empirical study on the Caucasian Urum vocabulary

Veronika Ries, Stavros Skopeteas, Emrah Turan, Kristin Nahrmann (Bielefeld)



Abstract

Multilingual situations are reflected in the lexicon; by consequence, lexical borrowings are powerful evidence for language contact in the prehistory of linguistic communities. This article presents an empirical study on the lexical knowledge of Caucasian Urum speakers, i. e., ethnic Greek speakers in the Small Caucasus, who are bilingual in a variety of Turkish (Urum) and Russian. The analysis is based on the established assumption that certain concepts are cross-linguistically associated with a certain likelihood of borrowing. Based on this assumption the data from lexical knowledge allow for insights with respect to the substrate/superstrate status of the involved languages in a multilingual situation and provide evidence for the type of relation (genetic or contact-induced) between compared languages.


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