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Language as a renewable resource: Import, dissipation, and absorption of innovations
Bengt-Arne Wickstroem
Pages - 32 - 52     |    Revised - 15-09-2012     |    Published - 25-10-2012
Volume - 3   Issue - 1    |    Publication Date - October 2012  Table of Contents
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KEYWORDS
language contact, borrowing, language structure, language status, language planning, renewable resource
ABSTRACT
The structural stability of different languages subject to the import of external elements is analyzed. The rate of import and dissipation of new elements is seen in relation to the rate at which a language absorbs new elements into their structure. The analysis leads to a model formally similar to the standard model used to analyze the extraction of renewable resources. This model is applied to different sociolinguistic situations and we speculate over how the structural type of a language determines its rate of adaption of the external innovations. Conditions that might lead to attrition and decay of the linguistic system, are characterized and some policy implications are drawn.
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Professor Bengt-Arne Wickstroem
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Germany
wickstr@hu-berlin.de