Language contact: Bridging the gap between individual interactions and areal patterns

Rik van Gijn   Hanna Ruch   Max Wahlström   Anja Hasse  


Contact linguistics is the overarching term for a highly diversified field with branches that connect to such widely divergent areas as historical linguistics, typology, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and grammatical theory. Because of this diversification, there is a risk of fragmentation and lack of interaction between the different subbranches of contact linguistics. Nevertheless, the different approaches share the general goal of accounting for the results of interacting linguistic systems. This common goal opens up possibilities for active communication, cooperation, and coordination between the different branches of contact linguistics. This book, therefore, explores the extent to which contact linguistics can be viewed as a coherent field, and whether the advances achieved in a particular subfield can be translated to others. In this way our aim is to encourage a boundary-free discussion between different types of specialists of contact linguistics, and to stimulate cross-pollination between them.


  • Introduction
    Rik van Gijn, Max Wahlström, Hanna Ruch, Anja Hasse
  • Linguistic accommodation
    Hanna Ruch, Carlota de Benito Moreno
  • Code-switching
    Hanna Lantto
  • Contact languages
    Danae Perez
  • Language shift
    Andreia Karnopp
  • Dialect areas and contact dialectology
    Péter Jeszenszky, Philipp Stöckle, Anja Hasse
  • Linguistic areas
    Rik van Gijn, Max Wahlström



Rik van Gijn

Rik van Gijn studied general linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. He received his PhD at the Radboud University Nijmegen and subsequently held positions at the Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics Nijmegen and the University of Zurich. Currently he is assistant professor at Leiden University. His interests focus on the description and comparison of the indigenous languages of South America, and on bringing together different disciplines to help uncover the population history of the continent, in particular with respect to historical contact.

Hanna Ruch

Hanna Ruch studied Hispanic Philology, German Linguistics and Geography at the University of Zurich. She received her PhD from Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich with a thesis on sound change in Andalusian Spanish. Her postdoctoral research was concerned with phonetic accommodation in Swiss German dialects and comprised experimental, interactional, and theoretical approaches. Apart from linguistic accommodation, her research intererests include  variation and change, speech perception, dialectology, and language evolution. Hanna Ruch is currently working as a  linguist in the Swiss public sector. 

Max Wahlström

Max Wahlström studied Slavic Philology and Linguistics at the University of Helsinki, where he received his PhD in 2015 with a thesis titled "Loss of case inflection in Bulgarian and Macedonian". His current research deals with morphosyntax, information structure, and reference, both from language-specific and typological perspectives. Wahlström operates on fieldwork data from the Balkans, large speech corpora, and historical text corpora. His further academic interests include the development of literary languages and historical and contemporary socio-linguistics of the Balkan languages. He currently works as a University Lecturer of South Slavic languages at the University of Helsinki.

Anja Hasse

Anja Hasse studied Scandinavian Philology, German Linguistics, and Comparative Germanic Linguistics at the Universities of Zurich and Uppsala. After research stays at the University of L’Aquila and with the Surrey Morphology Group, she received her PhD from the University of Zurich with a thesis on overabundance in Zurich German inflection. Her focus lies on the contact between closely related Germanic varieties, morphology, Swiss German dialectology, and language variation and change. Currently, she is a postdoc at the University of Zurich in a project on Amish Shwitzer, and is co-leader of a project on Elfdalian.

book cover


September 28, 2023
LaTeX source on GitHub
Cite as
van Gijn, Rik, Ruch, Hanna, Wahlström, Max & Hasse, Anja (eds.). 2023. Language contact: Bridging the gap between individual interactions and areal patterns. (Language Variation 8). Berlin: Language Science Press. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.8269092


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Details about the available publication format: PDF


ISBN-13 (15)




Details about the available publication format: Hardcover


ISBN-13 (15)


Physical Dimensions

180mm x 245mm