Contact-induced change in English worldwide

Edgar W. Schneider

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of English

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199922765
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Contact-induced change in English worldwide

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  • Linguistics
  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics


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Over the past few hundred years, and for the last few decades in particular, English has come into contact with a wide range of different languages across the globe due to colonial expansion and globalization. These contacts have given rise to a range of new varieties, both so-called “New Englishes” and pidgins and creoles, thus radically altering the evolutionary trajectory of English and emphasizing the need to rethink aspects of its history. This article explores the global spread of the English language, specifically from the perspective of language contact conditions. It discusses social, structural and theoretical aspects of the developments that have contributed to the emergence of new forms of English. Many of these phenomena date back to colonial history and Britain’s colonial expansion from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. The article also explores the structural consequences of contact, along with the modeling of contact phenomena in the emergence of new varieties of English.

Keywords: language contact; English; globalization; New Englishes; pidgins; creoles; British Empire; colonial history; expansion; modeling; linguistics

Article.  4026 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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