A note on language contact: Laz language in Turkey


INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BILINGUALISM, vol.23, no.4, pp.856-860, 2019 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 23 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/1367006917703458
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.856-860
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Classified as an endangered language, the Laz language is spoken in a restricted area by a small number of speakers. The contact between Turkish and Laz is intense and unidirectional in that the latter is only restrained to communication among family members in small speech communities. Contact-induced change, which is an inevitable outcome of Turkish-Laz contact, is investigated by placing special emphasis on loanwords. This paper, thus, addresses the contact between Turkish and the Laz language at lexical level and aims to examine whether the existence of Turkish nouns as loanwords in the Laz language is due to contact-induced language change with a culture-heavy loanword transmission or to gradual language loss. The data analysis reveals that these alterations can be divided into four major categories which are i) treatment of vowels, ii) treatment of consonants, iii) direct insertion, and iv) loanblends. The results show that nouns that are transmitted from Turkish into the Laz language undergo phonological and morphological alterations. The contact-induced change in the Laz language is probably due to historical process, lack of knowledge of the Laz language among the young generation and the dominance of Turkish language in social and educational setting. The study is original as it is the first attempt to examine the contact-induced change at lexical level in addition to studies by Imer (1997) and Kutcher (2008) investigating contact between Turkish and the Laz languages. The findings of the study are limited to contact-induced changes taking place in nouns transmitted from Turkish into the Laz language. Therefore, further research is needed to shed light on changes in other lexical categories like adjectives, adverbs, verbs, and so on.