Keith Slater keith_slater at SIL.ORG
Fri Apr 28 13:34:49 UTC 2000

Fred Field addresses this claim in a 1999 article in the Southwest Journal of
Linguistics (Vol. 18, No. 2).  Although he provides only a couple of potential
counter-examples, he suggests that there is no reason in principle that borrowed
items could not constitute somewhere between 50-90% of a language's lexicon.

It seems to depend to some extent on how one defines a mixed language.  Bakker
wants to limit the category to include languages which have their grammatical
system from one source and their lexicon from another; so this means that 90% or
more of the vocabulary is more or less by definition from a single source.  But
others define the category differently, and come up with different results.

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: borrowing
Author:  <hilaryy at RUF.RICE.EDU> at Internet
Date:    4/25/00 11:25 PM

I have been reading about contact languages and I came across the claim that
languages will borrow up to 45% of their vocabulary, which would usually be
considered heavy borrowing, or 90-100% which would be the case in many
bilingual mixtures/mixed languages (where the syntax remains that of the
'original language').  The claim is that no languages will borrow between 45%
and 90% - that there is no continuum between extensive borrowing and mixed
languages (Bakker+Mous, 1994 'Mixed Languages', pg 5).  I was wondering if
the members of this list could contribute examples or counterexamples of
this.  Also, does anyone have a functional explanation of why this might be?


Hilary Young
Rice University

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