Contact Dialectology and Sociolinguistic Typology

Project Leader: ASAHI Yoshiyuki
Associate Professor, Department of Language Change and Variation, NINJAL
Project Period:October 2009 - September 2012
Research field: sociolinguistics
Keywords: sociolinguistic change, contact dialectology, variation theory


Japanese urban centers (e.g. Osaka, Tokyo), so-called ‘new towns,’ and pioneer communities (e.g. Hokkaido), are all places which have received people coming from a variety of areas with divergent dialectal backgrounds. This project seeks to set up a new discipline in dialectology, called ‘contact dialectology’ to examine the linguistic phenomena in communities where many dialects are spoken.

Contact dialectology articulates sociolinguistic typology, which is designed to elucidate the relationship between the social structure of communities (such as urban communities or agriculture-based communities) and the linguistic effects of dialect contact. Generally speaking, a high-contact situation leads to a simpler language structure, while a low-contact situation leads to a more complicated structure. The primary goal of this project is to develop a framework for sociolinguistic variation that has universal applicability.

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