Stratum (linguistics)
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linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and structure. Linguis ...
, a stratum (
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
for "layer") or strate is a
language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means by which humans communicate, and may be conveyed through a variety of met ...
that influences or is influenced by another through contact. A substratum or substrate is a language that has lower power or prestige than another, while a superstratum or superstrate is the language that has higher power or prestige. Both substratum and superstratum languages influence each other, but in different ways. An adstratum or adstrate is a language that is in contact with another language in a neighbor population without having identifiably higher or lower prestige. The notion of "strata" was first developed by the Italian linguist Graziadio Isaia Ascoli (1829–1907), and became known in the English-speaking world through the work of two different authors in 1932. Thus, both concepts apply to a situation where an intrusive language establishes itself in the territory of another, typically as the result of
migration Migration, migratory, or migrate may refer to: Human migration * Human migration, physical movement by humans from one region to another ** International migration, when peoples cross state boundaries and stay in the host state for some minimum le ...
. Whether the superstratum case (the local language persists and the intrusive language disappears) or the substratum one (the local language disappears and the intrusive language persists) applies will normally only be evident after several generations, during which the intrusive language exists within a
diaspora A diaspora ( ) is a population that is scattered across regions which are separate from its geographic place of origin. Historically, the word was used first in reference to the dispersion of Greek diaspora, Greeks in the Hellenic world, and ...
culture. In order for the intrusive language to persist (''substratum'' case), the immigrant population will either need to take the position of a political
elite In political theory, political and sociology, sociological theory, the elite (french: élite, from la, eligere, to select or to sort out) are a small group of powerful people who hold a economic inequality, disproportionate amount of wealth, pr ...
or immigrate in significant numbers relative to the local population (i. e., the intrusion qualifies as an invasion or
colonisation Colonization, or colonisation, constitutes large-scale population movements wherein migrants maintain strong links with their, or their ancestors', former country – by such links, gain advantage over other inhabitants of the territory. When ...
; an example would be the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
giving rise to
Romance languages The Romance languages, sometimes referred to as Latin languages or Neo-Latin languages, are the various modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin. They are the only extant subgroup of the Italic languages in the Indo-European languages, I ...
outside Italy, displacing
Gaulish Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language spoken in parts of Continental Europe before and during the period of the Roman Empire. In the narrow sense, Gaulish was the language of the Celts of Gaul (now France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switze ...
and many other
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family native to the languages of Europe, overwhelming majority of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and the northern Indian subcontinent. Some European languages of this family, English language, Englis ...
). The ''superstratum'' case refers to elite invading populations that eventually adopt the language of the native lower classes. An example would be the
Burgundians The Burgundians ( la, Burgundes, Burgundiōnes, Burgundī; on, Burgundar; ang, Burgendas; grc-gre, Βούργουνδοι) were an early Germanic peoples, Germanic tribe or group of tribes. They appeared in the middle Rhine region, near the R ...
and
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the Lower Rhine and the Ems River, on the edge of the Roman Empire.H. Schutz: Tools, ...
in France, who eventually abandoned their Germanic dialects in favor of other Indo-European languages of the Romance branch, profoundly influencing the local speech in the process.


Substratum

A substratum (plural: substrata) or substrate is a language that an intrusive language influences, which may or may not ultimately change it to become a new language. The term is also used of substrate interference; i.e. the influence the substratum language exerts on the replacing language. According to some classifications, this is one of three main types of linguistic interference: substratum interference differs from both adstratum, which involves no language replacement but rather mutual borrowing between languages of equal "value", and superstratum, which refers to the influence a socially dominating language has on another, receding language that might eventually be relegated to the status of a substratum language. In a typical case of substrate interference, a Language A occupies a given territory and another Language B arrives in the same territory (brought, for example, with migrations of population). Language B then begins to supplant language A: the speakers of Language A abandon their own language in favor of the other language, generally because they believe that it will help them achieve certain goals within government, the workplace, and in social settings. During the language shift, however, the receding language A still influences language B (for example, through the transfer of
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word at least partly assimilated from one language (the donor language) into another language. This is in contrast to cognates, which are words in two or more languages that are similar because the ...
s, place names, or grammatical patterns from A to B). In most cases, the ability to identify substrate influence in a language requires knowledge of the structure of the substrate language. This can be acquired in numerous ways: * The substrate language, or some later descendant of it, still survives in a part of its former range; * Written records of the substrate language may exist to various degrees; * The substrate language itself may be unknown entirely, but it may have surviving close relatives that can be used as a base of comparison. One of the first-identified cases of substrate influence is an example of a substrate language of the second type:
Gaulish Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language spoken in parts of Continental Europe before and during the period of the Roman Empire. In the narrow sense, Gaulish was the language of the Celts of Gaul (now France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switze ...
, from the ancient Celtic people the Gauls. The
Gauls The Gauls ( la, Galli; grc, Γαλάται, ''Galátai'') were a group of Celts, Celtic peoples of mainland Europe in the Iron Age Europe, Iron Age and the Roman Gaul, Roman period (roughly 5th century BC to 5th century AD). Their homeland was k ...
lived in the modern French-speaking territory before the arrival of the Romans, namely the invasion of Julius Caesar's army. Given the cultural, economic and political advantages that came with being a Latin speaker, the Gauls eventually abandoned their language in favor of the language brought to them by the Romans, which evolved in this region until eventually it took the form of the French language that is known today. The Gaulish speech disappeared in the late Roman era, but remnants of its vocabulary survive in some French words (approximately 200) as well as place-names of Gaulish origin. It is also posited that some structural changes in French were shaped at least in part by Gaulish influence including diachronic sound changes and sandhi phenomena due to the retention of Gaulish phonetic patterns after the adoption of Latin,
calque In linguistics, a calque () or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal translation, literal word-for-word or root-for-root translation. When used as a verb, "to calque" means to borrow a word or phrase from ...
s such as ''aveugle'' ("blind", literally without eyes, from Latin ''ab oculis'', which was a calque on the Gaulish word with the same semantic construction as modern French) with other Celtic calques possibly including "oui", the word for yes,Matasović, Ranko. 2007. “Insular Celtic as a Language Area”. In Tristam, Hildegard L.C. 2007, ''The Celtic Languages in Contact''. Bonn: Papers from the Workship within the Framework of the XIII International Congress of Celtic Studies. Page 106. while syntactic and morphological effects are also posited. Other examples of substrate languages are the influence of the now extinct North Germanic Norn language on the Scots dialects of the
Shetland Shetland, also called the Shetland Islands and formerly Zetland, is a subarctic archipelago in Scotland lying between Orkney, the Faroe Islands and Norway. It is the northernmost region of the United Kingdom. The islands lie about to the no ...
and
Orkney Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of the island of Great Britain. Orkney is 10 miles (16 km) north ...
islands. In the Arab
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233: ) is a geopolitical region commonly encompassing Arabian Peninsula, Arabia (including the Arabian Peninsula and Bahrain), Anatolia, Asia Minor (Asian part of Turkey except Hatay Pro ...
and
North Africa North Africa, or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in t ...
, colloquial
Arabic Arabic (, ' ; , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...
dialects, most especially Levantine, Egyptian, and
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, الْمَغْرِب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as the Arab Maghreb ( ar, المغرب العربي) and Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, ...
dialects, often exhibit significant substrata from other regional Semitic (especially
Aramaic Aramaic ( syc, ܐܪܡܝܐ, Arāmāyā; oar, 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; arc, 𐡀𐡓𐡌𐡉𐡀; tmr, אֲרָמִית) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic languages, Semitic language that originated in the ancient Syria (regio ...
), Iranian, and Berber languages. Yemeni Arabic has Modern South Arabian,
Old South Arabian Old South Arabian (or Ṣayhadic or Yemenite) is a group of four closely related extinct languages spoken in the far southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula. They were written in the Ancient South Arabian script. There were a number of o ...
and Himyaritic substrata. Typically,
Creole language A creole language, or simply creole, is a stable natural language that develops from the simplifying and mixing of different languages into a new one within a fairly brief period of time: often, a pidgin evolved into a full-fledged language. Wh ...
s have multiple substrata, with the actual influence of such languages being indeterminate.


Unattested substrata

In the absence of all three lines of evidence mentioned above, linguistic substrata may be difficult to detect. Substantial indirect evidence is needed to infer the former existence of a substrate. The nonexistence of a substrate is difficult to show, and to avoid digressing into speculation, burden of proof must lie on the side of the scholar claiming the influence of a substrate. The principle of uniformitarianism and results from the study of human genetics suggest that many languages have formerly existed that have since then been replaced under expansive language families, such as Indo-European, Afro-Asiatic, Uralic or Bantu. However, it is not a given that such expansive languages would have acquired substratum influence from the languages they have replaced. Several examples of this type of substratum have still been claimed. For example, the earliest form of the
Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family spoken natively by a population of about 515 million people mainly in Europe, North America, Oceania and Southern Africa. The most widely spoken ...
may have been influenced by a non-Indo-European language, purportedly the source of about one quarter of the most ancient Germanic vocabulary. There are similar arguments for a Sanskrit substrate, a Greek one, and a substrate underlying the
Sami languages Acronyms * SAMI, ''Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange'', a closed-captioning format developed by Microsoft * Saudi Arabian Military Industries, a government-owned defence company * South African Malaria Initiative, a virtual expertise net ...
. Relatively clear examples are the Finno-Ugric languages of the Chude and the " Volga Finns" (Merya, Muromian, and Meshcheran): while unattested, their existence has been noted in medieval chronicles, and one or more of them have left substantial influence in the Northern Russian dialects. By contrast more contentious cases are the Vasconic substratum theory and Old European hydronymy, which hypothesize large families of substrate languages across western Europe. Some smaller-scale unattested substrates that remain under debate involve alleged extinct branches of the Indo-European family, such as " Nordwestblock" substrate in the Germanic languages, and a "Temematic" substrate in Balto-Slavic (proposed by Georg Holzer). The name ''Temematic'' is an abbreviation of "tenuis, media, media aspirata, tenuis", referencing a sound shift presumed common to the group. When a substrate language or its close relatives cannot be directly studied, their investigation is rooted in the study of
etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". is the study of the history of the Phonological chan ...
and linguistic typology. The study of unattested substrata often begins from the study of ''substrate words'', which lack a clear etymology. Such words can in principle still be native inheritance, lost everywhere else in the language family; but they might in principle also originate from a substrate. The sound structure of words of unknown origin — their
phonology Phonology is the branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds or, for sign languages, their constituent parts of signs. The term can also refer specifically to the sound or sign system of a ...
and morphology — can often suggest hints in either direction. So can their meaning: words referring to the natural landscape, in particular indigenous fauna and flora, have often been found especially likely to derive from substrate languages. None of these conditions, however, is sufficient by itself to claim any one word as originating from an unknown substratum. Occasionally words that have been proposed to be of substrate origin will be found out to have cognates in more distantly related languages after all, and therefore likely native: an example is Proto-Indo-European ''*mori'' 'sea', found widely in the northern and western Indo-European languages, but in more eastern Indo-European languages only in Ossetic.


Concept history

Although the influence of the prior language when a community speaks (and adopts) a new one may have been informally acknowledged beforehand, the concept was formalized and popularized initially in the late 19th century. As historical phonology emerged as a discipline, the initial dominant viewpoint was that influences from language contact on phonology and grammar should be assumed to be marginal, and an internal explanation should always be favored if possible; as articulated by Max Mueller in 1870, ("there are no mixed languages"). However, in the 1880s, dissent began to crystallize against this viewpoint. Within Romance language linguistics, the 1881 ''Lettere glottologiche'' of Graziadio Isaia Ascoli argued that the early phonological development of French and other Gallo-Romance languages was shaped by the retention by Celts of their "oral dispositions" even after they had switched to Latin. The related but distinct concept of creole languages was used to counter Mueller's view in 1884, by Hugo Schuchardt. In modern historical linguistics, debate persists on the details of how language contact may induce structural changes, but the respective extremes of "all change is contact" and "there are no structural changes ever" have largely been abandoned in favor of a set of conventions on how to demonstrate contact induced structural changes, which includes adequate knowledge of the two languages in question, a historical explanation, and evidence that the contact-induced phenomenon did not exist in the recipient language before contact, among other guidelines.


Superstratum

A superstratum (plural: superstrata) or superstrate offers the counterpart to a substratum. When a different language influences a base language to result in a new language, linguists label the influencing language a superstratum and the influenced language a substratum. A superstrate may also represent an imposed linguistic element akin to what occurred with English and Norman after the Norman Conquest of 1066 when use of the English language carried low prestige. The international scientific vocabulary coinages from Greek and Latin roots adopted by European languages (and subsequently by other languages) to describe scientific topics (sociology, zoology, philosophy, botany, medicine, all "
-logy ''-logy'' is a suffix in the English language, used with words originally adapted from Ancient Greek ending in ('). The earliest English examples were anglicizations of the French ''wiktionary:-logie, -logie'', which was in turn inherited from ...
" words, etc.) can also be termed a superstratum, although for this last case, " adstratum" might be a better designation (despite the prestige of science and of its language). In the case of French, for example,
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
is the superstrate and
Gaulish Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language spoken in parts of Continental Europe before and during the period of the Roman Empire. In the narrow sense, Gaulish was the language of the Celts of Gaul (now France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switze ...
the substrate. Some linguists contend that
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea ...
(and Japonic languages in general) consists of an Altaic superstratum projected onto an Austronesian substratum. Some scholars also argue for the existence of Altaic superstrate influences on varieties of Chinese spoken in Northern China. In this case, however, the superstratum refers to influence, not language succession. Other views detect ''sub''strate effects.


Adstratum

An adstratum (plural: adstrata) or adstrate is a language that through its prestige is a source of lexical borrowings to another. Generally, the term is used about languages in particular geolinguistic or geopolitical contexts. For example, early in
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
's history,
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian, is a stage of development of North Germanic languages, North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and t ...
served as an adstrate, contributing to the lexical structure of
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabita ...
.For example, ''take'' replaced earlier ''niman'' in the lexical slot of a transitive verb for "to take", though archaic forms of ''to nim'' survived in England. The phenomenon is less common today in standardized linguistic varieties and more common in colloquial forms of speech since modern nations tend to favour one single linguistic variety (often corresponding to the
dialect The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) arou ...
of the
capital Capital may refer to: Common uses * Capital city, a municipality of primary status ** List of national capitals, List of national capital cities * Capital letter, an upper-case letter Economics and social sciences * Capital (economics), the dura ...
and other important regions) over others. In
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...
, where dozens of languages are widespread, many languages could be said to share an adstratal relationship, but
Hindi Hindi (Devanāgarī: or , ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: ), is an Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in the Hindi Belt region encompassing parts of North India, northern, Central India, centr ...
is certainly a dominant adstrate in North India. A different example would be the sociolinguistic situation in
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Northwestern Europe. The country is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the ...
, where the French and Dutch languages have roughly the same status, and could justifiably be called adstrates to each other having each one provided a large set of lexical specifications to the other. The term adstratum is also used to identify systematic influences or a layer of borrowings in a given language from another language independently of whether the two languages continue coexisting as separate entities. Many modern languages have an appreciable adstratum from English due to the cultural influence and economic preponderance of the United States on international markets and previously colonization by the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. I ...
which made English a global
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a Natural language, language systematically used to make communication possib ...
. The Greek and Latin coinages adopted by European languages (including English and now languages worldwide) to describe scientific topics (sociology, medicine, anatomy, biology, all the '- logy' words, etc.) are also justifiably called adstrata. Another example is found in Spanish and Portuguese, which contain a heavy Semitic (particularly Arabic) adstratum; and
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language historically spoken by Ashkenazi Jews. It originated during the 9th century in Central Europe, providing the nascent Ashke ...
, which is a linguistic variety of High German with adstrata from
Hebrew Hebrew (; ; ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-surviving descendants, ...
and
Aramaic Aramaic ( syc, ܐܪܡܝܐ, Arāmāyā; oar, 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; arc, 𐡀𐡓𐡌𐡉𐡀; tmr, אֲרָמִית) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic languages, Semitic language that originated in the ancient Syria (regio ...
, mostly in the sphere of religion, and
Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages spoken primarily by the Slavs, Slavic peoples and their descendants. They are thought to descend from a proto-language called Proto-Slavic language, Proto ...
, by reason of the geopolitical contexts Yiddish speaking villages lived through for centuries before disappearing during the
Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide of History of the Jews in Europe, European Jews during World War II. Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany and #Collaboration, its collaborators systematically murdered some Holoc ...
.


Notable examples of substrate or superstrate influence


Substrate influence on superstrate


Superstrate influence on substrate


See also

*
Language shift Language shift, also known as language transfer or language replacement or language assimilation, is the process whereby a speech community shifts to a different language, usually over an extended period of time. Often, languages that are perceiv ...
* Language transfer * Trans-cultural diffusion * Pre-Greek substrate * Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni * Graziadio Isaia Ascoli *
Creole language A creole language, or simply creole, is a stable natural language that develops from the simplifying and mixing of different languages into a new one within a fairly brief period of time: often, a pidgin evolved into a full-fledged language. Wh ...
* Relexification


References


Further reading

*Benedict, Paul K. (1990). ''Japanese/Austro-Tai''. Ann Arbor: Karoma. *Cravens, Thomas D. (1994). "Substratum". ''The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics'', ed. by R. E. Asher et al. Vol. 1, pp. 4396–4398. Oxford: Pergamon Press. * Hashimoto, Mantaro J. (1986). "The Altaicization of Northern Chinese". ''Contributions to Sino-Tibetan studies'', eds John McCoy & Timothy Light, 76–97. Leiden: Brill. * Janhunen, Juha (1996). ''Manchuria: An Ethnic History''. Helsinki: Finno-Ugrian Society. *Jungemann, Frédéric H. (1955). ''La teoría del substrato y los dialectos Hispano-romances y gascones''. Madrid. *Lewin, Bruno (1976)
"Japanese and Korean: The Problems and History of a Linguistic Comparison"
''Journal of Japanese Studies'' 2:2.389–412 *Matsumoto, Katsumi (1975). "Kodai nihongoboin soshikikõ: naiteki saiken no kokoromi". ''Bulletin of the Faculty of Law and Letters'' (Kanazawa University) 22.83–152. *McWhorter, John (2007)
''Language Interrupted: Signs of Non-Native Acquisition in Standard Language Grammars''
USA: Oxford University Press. *Miller, Roy Andrew (1967). ''The Japanese language''. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. *Murayama, Shichiro (1976)
"The Malayo-Polynesian Component in the Japanese Language"
''Journal of Japanese Studies'' 2:2.413–436 *Shibatani, Masayoshi (1990). ''The languages of Japan''. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. *Singler, John Victor (1983)
"The influence of African languages on pidgins and creoles"
''Current Approaches to African Linguistics (vol. 2)'', ed. by J. Kaye ''et al.'', 65–77. Dordrecht. *Singler, John Victor (1988).
The homogeneity of the substrate as a factor in pidgin/creole genesis
. ''Language'' 64.27–51. *Vovin, Alexander (1994). "Long-distance relationships, reconstruction methodology and the origins of Japanese". ''Diachronica'' 11:1.95–114. * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Stratum (Linguistics) Language contact Historical linguistics