Understanding Linguistic Features of Estonian-Latvian Bilingual Speech

  • Anna VerschikEmail author
  • Elīna Bone
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 26)


The current paper is a case study of Estonian-Latvian individual bilingualism. Estonian and Latvian belong to different language families (respectively Finnic branch of Uralic and Baltic branch of Indo-European). The case is instructive because it demonstrates that there is no significant differences between impact in imposition (L1 Estonian > L2 Latvian) and in adoption (L2 Latvian > L1 Estonian). This is at odds with Thomason and Kaufman (Language contact, creolization, and genetic linguistics. University of California Press, Berkley, 1988) who argue that impact of L1 is in phonology and grammar and impact of L2 mostly in lexicon, semantics and non-core morphosyntax. The data are analyzed in Code-Copying Framework (CCF, Johanson L, Code-copying in immigrant Turkish. In Extra G, Verhoeven L (eds) Immigrant languages in Europe. Multilingual matters, Clevedon, pp 197–221, 1993; Contact-induced change in a code-copying framework. In Jones MC, Esch E (eds) Language change: the interplay of internal, external and extra-linguistic factors, Contribution to the sociology of language, vol 86. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp 285–313, 2002) because it takes into consideration bidirectionality of contact-induced language change and provides a holistic view on lexicon and morphosyntax (they are not separated in CCF). The similar character of adoption and imposition can be explained by (1) cognitive factors (lack of strict boundaries between the systems, also demonstrated by compromise morphosyntax); (2) individual factors (balanced bilingualism, individual linguistic flexibility), (3) structural factors (material similarity in common borrowings and common internationalisms) and (4) certain sociolinguistic factors (two countries with a fairly similar sociolinguistic and political history, roughly equal prestige of both languages, no normative pressure, lack of bilingual community).


Language contacts Balanced bilingualism Latvian Estonian Usage based approach Code copying 

























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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tallinn UniversityTallinnEstonia

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