Language contact

Period of duration of course
Course info
Number of course hours
Number of hours of lecturers of reference
Number of hours of supplementary teaching

Type of exam



There are no prerequisites. Beginners in linguistics will be individually supported according to their needs.


The course will provide an overview of the manifold manifestations of language contact and the tools developed to investigate them, with a focus on the processes of change that contact can trigger in the structure of the languages involved. The examples will be drawn from various language families, with particular emphasis on Slavic-Romance contact, also using first-hand data from fieldwork (in Istria).

In order to prepare for the course, there is a recommended reading for the introduction to the study of language contact (Matras 2020), while about the two families that will be the focus of particular attention, one can use as reference texts Barbato (2017) on the one hand, and the still useful Comrie and Corbett (1993) or the articles collected in the more recent Kempgen et al. (2009-14) on the other.

Educational aims

The classes aim at arousing the students’ awareness about language complexity and diversity, to be further investigated in individually-targeted seminars.

Bibliographical references

The following readings are recommended:

a) on language contact:

Matras, Yaron. 2020. Language contact Cambridge: Cambridge University Press [Second edition].

b) on the languages that will be given special attention:

Barbato, Marcello. 2017. Le lingue romanze. Profilo storico-comparativo. Bari-Roma: editori Laterza.

Comrie, Bernard and Greville G. Corbett (curr.). 1993. The slavonic languages. London: Routledge.

Sebastian Kempgen et al. (curr.). 2009-14. Die slavischen Sprachen / The Slavic Languages: Ein internationales Handbuch zu ihrer Struktur, ihrer Geschichte und ihrer Erforschung / An International Handbook of their Structure, their History and their Investigation. 2 vols. Berlin-Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.


Further literature will be suggested as the course proceeds.