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Title:Language as a renewable resource: Import, dissipation, and absorption of innovations PDF Logo
Authors:Wickström, Bengt-Arne
Issue Date:2012
Series/Report no.:CESifo Working Paper: Empirical and Theoretical Methods 3919
Abstract:The structural stability of different languages subject to the import of external elements is analyzed. We focus on the temporal side of the different processes interacting to produce a change in the structure of the language. That is, the rate of import and dissipation of new elements is seen in relation to the rate at which a language absorbs such new elements into its structure. The analysis leads to a model that in the steady state is formally similar to the standard model used to analyze the extraction of renewable natural resources. This model is applied to different sociolinguistic situations and we speculate about how the structural type of a language might influence its rate of adaptation of the external innovations and how the cultural and social status of the idiom (partially) determines the rate of import of such innovations. Conditions that might lead to attrition and decay of the linguistic system, are characterized and some policy implications are drawn.
Subjects:language contact
borrowing
language structure
language status
language planning
renewable resource
JEL:Z00
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:CESifo Working Papers, CESifo Group Munich

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