Code-Copying in the Balochi Language of Sistan

Document Type: Research Paper


Berlin Humboldt University, Germany


This empirical study deals with language contact phenomena in Sistan. Code-copying is viewed as a strategy of linguistic behavior when a dominated language acquires new elements in lexicon, phonology, morphology, syntax, pragmatic organization, etc., which can be interpreted as copies of a dominating language. In this framework Persian is regarded as the model code which provides elements for being copied into Balochi as the basic code. It is argued here that code-copying affects most readily the lexicon, whereas more structured subsystems like morphology and syntax hardly admit to copying. Instead lexical copies serve as an intermediary for copying phonic and morphological-syntactical features of the model code. Copies of the Persian model code which become established linguistic features of Balochi are distinguished from ephemeral linguistic switches which are studied within the context of communication situation variables and other linguistic or extra-linguistic factors. The study is based upon audio recordings of colloquial Balochi speech made by the author in Sistan during the last six years.

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