‘Restricted’ and ‘General’ Complexity Perspectives on Social Bilingualisation and Language Shift Processes

  • Albert Bastardas-BoadaEmail author


Historical processes exert an influence on the current state and evolution of situations of language contact, brought to bear from different domains: the economic and the political, the ideological and group identities, geo-demographics, and the habits of inter-group use, among others. Clearly, this kind of phenomenon requires study from a complexical and holistic perspective in order to accommodate the variety of factors that belong to different levels and that interrelate with one another in the evolving dynamic of human languaging. The need in my view is for the restricted and general complexity approaches to come to a meeting of the minds, and take steps toward a mutual integration based on the acceptance of the shortcomings of each approach, achieving progress through a non-contradictory complementarity of perspectives. It must be conceded that the practical and methodological applications of basic complexical ideas need to be developed much farther in order to apply them to specific research. At the same time, the limits of complex adaptive systems as computational strategies must be accepted in the pursuit of a better understanding of the dynamic and evolutionary processes typical of human beings. New tools for the conception, apprehension and treatment of the data will need to be devised to complement existing ones and to enable us to make headway toward practices that better fit complexical perspectives. It seems obvious that human complexics must be seen as multi-methodological, insofar as necessary combining quantitative-computation methodologies and more qualitative methodologies aimed at understanding the historical mental and emotional world of people.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Catalan Philology and General Linguistics, Sociocomplexity—Complexity, Communication and Sociolinguistics Group, CUSC—Research Centre for Sociolinguistics and Communication, UBICS—Universitat de Barcelona Institute of Complex SystemsUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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