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Lexical imposition Old Norse vocabulary in Scottish Gaelic 

Thomas W. Stewart, Jr. (Truman State University)

Diachronica, Volume 21, Number 2, pp. 393-420 (2004)


A population of Norse settlers in the Northern and Western Isles of Scotland eventually shifted from Old Norse to the contemporary Gaelic of the established community. Although little direct evidence of the sociolinguistic conditions of the contact situation exists, an unusual sound pattern found among the words transferred from Old Norse into Scottish Gaelic suggests that an unexpectedly large number of words beginning with /s/+[stop] clusters were transferred under Norse-speaker agency (via imposition) rather than under Gaelic-speaker agency (via borrowing).

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