The pervasiveness of language contact: Evidence from negative existentials in Romeyka/Turkish code-switching


  • Zeyneb Kaya



Romeyka, negative existentials, code-switching, morpho-syntax, language contact, Matrix Language hypothesis, Turkish, bilingual


This paper investigates the morpho-syntactic features of language contact in the endangered Greek dialect Romeyka with Turkish. We analyze the use of the borrowed negative existential jok to (a) determine its role in Romeyka’s negation patterns (b) examine the effects of contact in Romeyka through cross-linguistic comparisons of jok with Turkish and forms of the dialect as spoken in Greece and (c) apply the identified grammatical patterns of jok to Myers-Scotton’s linguistic explanations for the code switching phenomena in the Matrix Language Turnover Hypothesis. The analysis demonstrates the pervasive influence of Turkish on the morpho-syntax of Romeyka through the incorporation of Turkish grammatical structures. We observe changes in the fundamental predicate grammar that are aligned with Turkish and that are inconsistent with Pontic’s existential constructions where the verb indicating existence is used. The patterns of contact confirm the Matrix Language hypothesis and provide evidence that indicate that Romeyka may be undergoing language turnover. Our findings are relevant to further understanding code switching among speakers of minority languages and assessing the vitality of Romeyka in Turkey.




How to Cite

Kaya, Zeyneb. 2023. “The Pervasiveness of Language Contact: Evidence from Negative Existentials in Romeyka Turkish Code-Switching”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 8 (1): 5421.