Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Linguistics Program

Committee Chair

Dr. Mizuki Miyashita

Commitee Members

Dr. Tully Thibeau, Dr. Pablo Requena, Dr. Maria del Carmen Parafita Couto


language contact, language mixture, Asturian, Spanish


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Typological Linguistics and Linguistic Diversity


This thesis presents a preliminary analysis of language mixture between Asturian and Spanish produced by Asturian speakers. Asturian is an endangered non- official language, closely related to Spanish, spoken in northwestern Spain. Asturian and Spanish have been in contact since the 14th century (Barnes, 2013). According to Thomason (2001), language contact can lead to different outcomes, like language mixture, language change, or language death. This study offers an investigation of forms in the Asturian language as a result of language contact between Asturian and Spanish. Data used is from an episode of a non-scripted TV show broadcasted in Asturian, which was transcribed and analyzed specifically for this study. The results show that language mixture between Asturian and Spanish occurs at different linguistic levels (i.e., conversation, intonation unit, clause, phrase, and word). Mixtures at the word level and in possessive articles are further analyzed. This study also bares several theoretical implications such as superstratum and substratum interference (Thomason and Kaufman, 1988), the Matrix Language-Frame model (Myers-Scotton, 1993), structural borrowing (Thomason and Kaufman, 1988), and language mode (Grosjean, 2011). It discusses that Asturian speakers in the data source are speaking in bilingual language mode, and their production in Asturian exhibits structural borrowing from Spanish. Furthermore, certain Asturian features have been systematically replaced by Spanish features, implying that another consequence of contact with Spanish may be language change. Since Asturian and Spanish are typologically very similar, I suggest that these changes, although seemingly minor, may be a symptom of language shift. Since this study deals with typologically close languages, it raises questions that may advance our understanding of language contact.



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