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Dea madre

The Mediterranean: An agelong language-contact laboratory.

Since time immemorial the Mediterranean basin and the neighbouring regions in Europe, Asia and Africa have provided an area where peoples, cultures and languages of rather diverse character meet, influence each other and sometimes even fuse.

The migrations of today have a long list of predecessors which have shaped the Mediterranean as the cultural mosaic it is at present. These contacts are relatively richly documented in contemporary historiography and related disciplines. However, there is still no comprehensive account of what has happened on the linguistic side of the Mediterranean “melting pot”.

Knowledge of languages, multilingualism and borrowings have been important throughout the entire history of the Mediterranean where migrations and changing borders have always raised the question of integration via language.