Linguistic Typology at the Crossroads https://typologyatcrossroads.unibo.it/ <p><strong>Linguistic Typology at the Crossroads</strong><strong> – ISSN </strong><strong>2785-0943 </strong>is an open access journal which aims to host research within the field of linguistic typology. It is meant to give space above all, but not exclusively, to studies exploring the crossroads at which linguistic typology meets its closest neighbors.</p> FICLIT, LILEC – Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna en-US Linguistic Typology at the Crossroads 2785-0943 Variation in Central Ring: Convergence or divergence? https://typologyatcrossroads.unibo.it/article/view/16312 <p>Central Ring (CR) Grassfields Bantu languages of Cameroon seem to form a distinct subgroup within Ring that can be delimited from the West Ring subgroup by some isomorphs (e.g., absence of noun class 4, presence of a contrast of plural noun classes 10 vs. 13, absence of a fully morphologicized aspectual focus system), a couple of isoglosses such as *<em>m-lám</em> (6a) ‘blood’, *<em>m-fʉ́(k)</em> (6a) ‘pus’, *<em>kə-bvʊ̂l</em> (7) ‘ashes’, *<em>fɨ̀ɨ / *kʊ̀l</em> (9/10) ‘rope’, *<em>kə-fûk</em> (7/8) ‘farm’ and gender affiliations of nominal concepts, e.g., *<em>ú-lûə</em> ‘bridge’ in (3/13 vs. 3/6a). The standing challenge is to sort out the precise motivations for these divergent developments, i.e., to what extent they have been inspired by the felt need to accommodate to a target external to CR in the first line, or to what extent the ultimate driving force could rather have been the desire to dissociate from CR neighbours and increase linguistic distinctions as symbolic consolidation of sociopolitical independence.</p> Pius W. Akumbu Roland Kießling Copyright (c) 2023 Pius W. Akumbu, Roland Kießling https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-11-30 2023-11-30 3 1 19 42 10.6092/issn.2785-0943/16312 Language contact and evidence of divergence and convergence in the morphology of Usaghade https://typologyatcrossroads.unibo.it/article/view/16309 <p>Usaghade, a Lower Cross (LC) language is, unlike other LC languages, in regular contact with several Bantu languages, particularly Londo, and has a functioning system of noun classification/agreement, whereas other LC languages have only remnants of a former system. A comparison of noun classification in Lower Cross and Usaghade and between Usaghade and Londo suggests that Londo may have played a role in shaping the noun classification system of Usaghade by providing, along with other neighboring languages, an ecology in which Usaghade speakers were able to maintain their own existing system rather than converge with Londo. Usaghade temporal marking and its apparent system of verb classification, also different from other LC languages and hardly attributable to contact-induced convergence, might be a result of contact-induced divergence. The situation of Usaghade supports the view that bound morphology is resistant to borrowing and suggests three possible outcomes of contact: convergence, divergence, and stability.</p> Bruce Connell Copyright (c) 2023 Bruce Connell https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-11-30 2023-11-30 3 1 43 71 10.6092/issn.2785-0943/16309 Language contact or linguistic micro-engineering? Feature pools, social semiosis, and intentional language change in the Cameroonian Grassfields https://typologyatcrossroads.unibo.it/article/view/17231 <p style="font-weight: 400;">With more than seventy named languages, and many more locally distinctive varieties, the Cameroonian Grassfields are known for their impressive linguistic diversity. At the same time, the languages of the Grassfields also show a considerable degree of structural homogeneity and lexical similarity which is suggestive of both genealogical relatedness and prolonged processes of contact-induced convergence. However, fine-grained comparative analyses reveal puzzling situations of similarities and differences among neighboring languages and varieties. Often left unaddressed or viewed as “irregularities”, these cases might in fact provide insights into low-level language dynamics that have contributed significantly to the development of the regional linguistic configuration. In this paper, we focus on two such cases involving noun classes and tense-aspect marking and propose a model of language change based on a notion that we term the <em>social semiosis layer</em>, which is viewed as a specific part of a linguistic feature pool. When paired with the existing notion of neighbor opposition, it can account for situations where there is evidence that specific forms have been deliberately manipulated to create salient distinctions among varieties in a given local sociolinguistic context.</p> Pierpaolo Di Carlo Jeff Good Copyright (c) 2023 Pierpaolo Di Carlo, Jeff Good https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-11-30 2023-11-30 3 1 72 125 10.6092/issn.2785-0943/17231 Divergence across Bade Varieties ‒ A Case of Naboopposition? https://typologyatcrossroads.unibo.it/article/view/16450 <p style="font-weight: 400;">In a dialect survey of Bade (Chadic), Schuh (1981) lists several morphosyntactic, phonological, and lexical innovations differentiating Bade varieties. While certain innovations may be attributed to the influence of Kanuri, e.g., a sound change <em>r</em> <em>&gt; r̃</em> in Western Bade, other features are difficult to accommodate in terms of convergence with neighboring languages. Probably the most striking innovation concerns so called nunation in Western Bade, i.e., common nouns in their indefinite citation form take a suffix <em>-n</em>, a feature which is not only absent in all other varieties of the Bade-Ngizim group, but also in other non-related languages of the region. Divergence across varieties of the Bade language cannot be sufficiently explained in terms of language-internal processes (e.g., analogy), or contact, or extra-linguistic factors like prestige and attitudes. This paper explores the significance of Larsen’s (1917) hardly noticed concept of naboopposition (neighbor-opposition) in filling this gap.</p> Georg Ziegelmeyer Copyright (c) 2023 Georg Ziegelmeyer https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-11-30 2023-11-30 3 1 126 146 10.6092/issn.2785-0943/16450 Introduction https://typologyatcrossroads.unibo.it/article/view/18309 <p>This paper introduces the monographic issue of <em>Linguistic Typology at the Crossroads</em> entitled “Language contact and non-convergent change: cases from Africa”, edited by Pierpaolo Di Carlo and Pius W. Akumbu. After briefly outlining non-convergent change under contact with a special attention to African settings, it deals with the fact that the languages discussed in the monographic issue have been spoken for generations in contexts of small-scale multilingualism. This is a key aspect to consider since small-scale multilingualism is a type of multilingualism that is overall little known as to its possible effects at the level of language change. The paper then addresses methodological aspects related to the study of non-convergent change in contact situations and introduces the novel concept of “correlated dissimilarity”. A call for the collection of new and more comprehensive data in the field as the only possible way to test the hypotheses raised in this volume concludes this introduction.</p> Pierpaolo Di Carlo Copyright (c) 2023 Pierpaolo Di Carlo https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-11-30 2023-11-30 3 1 1 18 10.6092/issn.2785-0943/18309