A sociolinguistic study of language contact of Lebanese Arabic and Brazilian Portuguese in Säo Paulo



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Languages that borrow Arabic words often incorporate redundant, non-lexical material (Myers Scotton 2002, Rouchdy 2002). Examples can be drawn from words of Arabic origin in the Portuguese language (Kaye 2004, Corriente 1992). The aim of this study is to explore different aspects language variation due to language contact and transfer. This study takes into consideration loanword adaptations and examines three generations of Lebanese-Brazilians living and São Paulo. While many factors account for phonological variation in the production of Brazilian Portuguese, one of the goals of this study is to show how prior language experiences can influence variation in the perception and production of another. In exploring three generations in the Lebanese-Brazilian community of São Paulo, Brazil, first-generation immigrants are believed to have more variability in their spoken Portuguese, with this variability extending to loanwords of Arabic origin. Subsequent generations are believed have less access to the Arabic language, and have less variability in their spoken Portuguese, however are expected to experience some influence of Arabic when perceiving and producing words of Arabic origin.