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On the Subitizing Effect in Language Contact


Gardani, Francesco; Zanini, Chiara (2022). On the Subitizing Effect in Language Contact. In: Levie, Ronit; Bar-On, Amalia; Ashkenazi, Orit; Dattner, Elitzur; Brandes, Gilad. Developing Language and Literacy Studies in Honor of Dorit Diskin Ravid. Cham: Springer, 263-293.

Abstract

Numerical cognition is an essential component of our daily life. It is the ability to process numerical quantities. In language, symbolic representations of numerical quantities are encoded by numerals. In situations of language contact, numerals are often borrowed from one language into another (Haspelmath & Tadmor, Loanwords in the world’s languages: A comparative handbook. De Gruyter Mouton, Berlin, 2009), and it has been observed that high and more abstract numerals are more prone to borrowing than lower numerals (Matras, Yaron, Language contact (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009: 202). Linguists mainly explain the higher borrowability of high numerals in sociocultural terms, for example, because of “their association with formal contexts of use” and “through intensification of economic activity” (Matras, Yaron, Language contact (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009: 200). We propose an alternative explanation, informed by cognitive science, showing that low numerals are more resistant to borrowing than high numerals because they are more deeply anchored in cognition.

Abstract

Numerical cognition is an essential component of our daily life. It is the ability to process numerical quantities. In language, symbolic representations of numerical quantities are encoded by numerals. In situations of language contact, numerals are often borrowed from one language into another (Haspelmath & Tadmor, Loanwords in the world’s languages: A comparative handbook. De Gruyter Mouton, Berlin, 2009), and it has been observed that high and more abstract numerals are more prone to borrowing than lower numerals (Matras, Yaron, Language contact (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009: 202). Linguists mainly explain the higher borrowability of high numerals in sociocultural terms, for example, because of “their association with formal contexts of use” and “through intensification of economic activity” (Matras, Yaron, Language contact (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009: 200). We propose an alternative explanation, informed by cognitive science, showing that low numerals are more resistant to borrowing than high numerals because they are more deeply anchored in cognition.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Romance Studies
06 Faculty of Arts > Zurich Center for Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism
470 Latin & Italic languages
410 Linguistics
440 French & related languages
460 Spanish & Portuguese languages
450 Italian, Romanian & related languages
Language:English
Date:2022
Deposited On:14 Nov 2022 14:49
Last Modified:14 Nov 2022 15:07
Publisher:Springer
ISBN:978-3-030-99890-5
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-99891-2_10