Language Contact

Module titleLanguage Contact
Module codeSML3017
Academic year2018/9
Module staff

Dr Francesco Goglia (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Language contact is a very frequent phenomenon. Languages have been in contact throughout history. In this module we will study the linguistic outcomes of language contact: lexical borrowing, code-switching, interference in second-language acquisition, pidgins and creoles formation. As learners of one or more languages you may have experienced the effects of language contact, either by switching from one language to another in the same conversation or by noticing instances of interference from your first language into the language you are learning. Examples from English and other modern European languages will be discussed and you will be encouraged to reflect on your own experience of language learners.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to:

  • Introduce you to the study of language contact and its outcomes, as well as the social and linguistic factors that regulate contact-induced change
  • Introduce you to concepts in language contact including bilingualism, code-switching and lexical borrowing, interference and second language acquisition, pidgins and creoles formation
  • Discuss examples from English and other modern European languages
  • Allow you to explore specific case studies and data according to your own programme of study and language interests/experiences

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of basic issues in contact linguistics and apply them to the analysis of linguistic examples from their own experience as language learners
  • 2. Be aware of lexical borrowing in English
  • 3. Use the new linguistic terminology appropriately
  • 4. Show understanding of linguistic features and processes of formation of pidgins and creoles

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Understand linguistic concepts and apply them to the analysis of Language Contact
  • 6. Make use of printed and electronic resources
  • 7. Carry out personal research taking as a starting point the classes and the reading list provided by the tutor
  • 8. Access and use critically printed and, where appropriate, electronic learning resources identified as useful by the course tutor(s), and, to a limited extent, discover other useful materials independently

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Apply reading skills, analysis and evaluation
  • 10. Participate in discussions and team work
  • 11. Use analytical skills to solve problems

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Introduction: What is language contact?
  • Lexical borrowing
  • Multilingual communities and countries
  • Second language acquisition and language shift
  • Language Attrition
  • Code-switching
  • Pidgins and Creoles

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching1510 x 1.5 hour seminar and lecture
Scheduled learning and teaching1Conclusion
Guided independent study134Private study and class preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Mini essay750 words1-11Individual and collective; Written and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1003000 words1-11Individual, written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-11Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Winford, Donald. 2003. An introduction to contact linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Further literature:
  • Clyne, Michael. 2003. Dynamics of language contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Holm, John. 2000. An introduction to pidgins and creoles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Gardner-Chloros, Penelope. 2009. Code-switching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Matras, Yaron 2009. Language contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Milroy, Lesley & Muysken, Pieter (Eds). 1995. One speaker, two languages. Cross-disciplinary perspectives on code-switching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Muysken, Pieter. 2000. Bilingual speech. A typology of code-mixing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Myer-Scotton, Carol. 2006. Multiple Voices: an introduction to bilingualism. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Romaine, Suzanne. 1995. Bilingualism. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Sebba, Mark. 1997. Contact languages: pidgins and creoles. London: Macmillan.
  • Thomason, Sarah Grey & Kaufman, Terrence. 1988. Language contact, creolization and genetic linguistics. Oxford/Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Thomason, Sarah Grey. 1997. Contact languages:a wider perspective. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • Wei, Li. 2000. The bilingualism reader. New York: Routledge

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Language contact, multilingualism, code-switching, pidgins and creoles

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date