Language Contact and Codeswitching: From the Cases of Donggan and Koryo Saram in Central Asia
The Donggan (Dungan) of Central Asia regard themselves as belonging to the same people as the Hui of China, and indeed their language derives from Northern dialects of Chinese. However, the Donggan language diverged significantly from its parent tongue during the extended period when its speakers were out of touch with China, residing in Russian and former Soviet territory and using Cyrillic, not Chinese characters, as their established writing system. Through field studies, I analyze the syntactical changes undergone by Donggan and investigate codeswitching by multilingual speakers of Donggan and Russian. In addition to Donggan, I also study language contact and codeswitching among Koryo Saram, the group of ethnic Koreans who originally emigrated from the Korean peninsula to the Maritime Region in the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century before being forcibly relocated to Central Asia in 1937.
A scene from “Donggan Culture Day,” a festival held in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek by the Donggan (who call themselves the Hui people) of Central Asia
Principal areas of interest
● Language contact and language change
● Multilingualism and codeswitching
● Phonetics and phonology of contemporary Russian
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