Language Contact and Change in Basque and Spanish Morphology
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My project entails a one-month visit to Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain, to investigate the sociolinguistic circumstances surrounding the relationships found in the vebal, nominal, and adjectival morphology of Basque and Spanish. Using personal interviews, media resources, and archival materials, I will explore how borrowing of adjectives from Spanish into Basque has created an incipient gender system in this minority language, Western European only non-Indo-European language other than Finnish and the related Sami languages. Further, I will analyze a kind of irregularity in the verb systems of the two languages. Known as suppletion, this type of irregularity involves differences in the stems of forms belonging to the same paradigm, as in the English forms am~is~are~be~were or go~went (in contrast with regular forms like talk~talked and smile~smiled). Comparing these unrelated and typologically diverse languages will offer greater crosslinguistic perspective on this understudied phenomenon. Finally, the data that I gather will contribute to our understanding of a language spoken in a politically sensative area. My project will contribute to the ongoing goal of linguists to understand how genetic, typological, and contact relationships interact. This investigation represents a continuation of several research projects that I have been conducting, some for more than 15 years.