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Accepted Paper:

Morphosyntactic Accommodation of Chinese Content Words in Kazakh: The Case of Kazakh-Chinese Language Contact  
Wulaer Nuerlan (Nazarbayev University)


Due to political, social, and economic changes, there has been close contact between Chinese and minority languages spoken in China today. This study explores how Chinese content words are accommodated morphosyntactically in Kazakh in the context of Kazakh-Chinese language contact in Xinjiang. Although borrowing strategies have been studied for many languages of the world, there is a gap in the literature regarding spoken Kazakh in Xinjiang and Chinese lexical borrowing in Kazakh. The data used in this study represents the recordings I collected in Xinjiang as a research assistant in the Multimedia Corpus of Modern Spoken Kazakh Language project. After analyzing 6.8 hours of conversational data, a total of 133 cases of insertion of verbs, 21 adjectives, and 7 adverbs were found. Moreover, 250 nouns were found in 3.5 hours of data, which could be extrapolated to over 450 per 7 hours of conversational data. Firstly, the strategies for the accommodation of Chinese verbs were identified according to the typology of verbal borrowings of Jan Wohlgemuth (2009). The results show four different strategies used to accommodate Chinese verbs: light verb strategy, direct insertion, indirect insertion, and paradigm insertion. The light verb strategy is the most attested in Kazakh, which agrees with Wohlgemuth’s (2009) findings that “language with the dependent-head (OV) orientation strongly prefers the Light Verb Strategy” (p. 203). The light verbs used in Kazakh are qyl- ‘to do’ and bol- ‘to be’, where bol- ‘to be’ is used when the subject of the verb does not have an agentive role and is affected by the action, and qyl- ‘to do’ is used when the subject is agentive, and the action is voluntary. In direct insertion, the Chinese verbs are directly inserted into the Kazakh sentence without any morphological accommodation, but in indirect insertion, Kazakh verbalizing affixes are added to monosyllabic Chinese verbs, as in pī-le ‘to approve’ and zū-la ‘to rent.’ The use of paradigm insertion allows the speakers to use the Chinese perfective aspect marker le together with the Chinese verb. Secondly, since adjectives in Mandarin are regarded as stative verbs (Li & Thompson, 1989), adjectives are accommodated in two different ways – light verb strategy and direct insertion into the position of the Kazakh adjectives. Finally, nouns and adverbs are integrated into Kazakh just like native words without any accommodation strategies. Overall, this study provides an overview of the accommodation of Chinese content words in Kazakh language.

Panel T08LANG
Exploring Low-Resource Languages through Corpus Work: Challenges, Innovations, and Insights
  Session 1 Thursday 6 June, 2024, -