Linguistics Colloquium: Natalia Meir

14/05/2019 - 14:00 - 15:30

Natalia Meir, BIU

Title: Restructuring in Heritage Grammars: evidence from the Russian case marking


The term “Heritage Language” (HL), also labeled as “minority language”, “community language”, “home language”, refers to a language that is spoken at home but is not the majority language of the society (e.g., Benmamoun, Montrul, & Polinsky, 2013; Montrul, 2008; Rothman, 2009). The linguistic performance of HL speakers varies significantly within groups and across the lifespan of each individual. Grammars of HL speakers differ from those of monolingual “baseline”. Variations and innovations (also labeled as restructuring) observed in HL grammars are systematic (e.g., Hopp & Putnam, 2015; Montrul, 2008; Rothman, 2009). Yet, the exact mechanisms of HL attainment and trajectory are the subject of on-going ardent debate among linguists (for an overview see Benmamoun et al., 2013; Kupisch & Rothman, 2016; Scontras, Fuchs & Polinsky, 2015).

In the current talk, I will present several studies on case marking in child and adult speakers of  HL Russian and discuss the potential mechanisms associated with HL grammar restructuring: the age of onset (AoO) of bilingualism, the timing of acquisition of a particular linguistic phenomenon, quantity and quality of input, structural complexity, and transfer from the dominant language.


Place: Building 507 room 106

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