Light-weights placed right: post-field constituents in heritage German

Tsehaye, Wintai

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-651462
Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2023
The title of a journal, publication series: Frontiers in Psychology
Volume: 14
Issue number: Article 1122129
Page range: 1-13
Place of publication: Lausanne
Publishing house: Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN: 1664-1078
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Anglistik I (Seniorprofessur) (Tracy 2019-)
Pre-existing license: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 420 English
Abstract: This study focuses on the linearization of constituents at the right sentence periphery in German, specifically on non-clausal light-weight constituents (LWCs) in the post-field. Spoken and written productions of German heritage speakers (HSs) with English as their majority language (ML) and of monolinguallyraised speakers (MSs) of German are analyzed in different registers. The right sentence periphery is an area comprising a lot of variation and it is therefore intriguing to see how the two speaker groups deal with the options available if faced with the same communicative tasks. The overall goal is to answer the question whether the production of post-field LWCs in German HSs and MSs can provide us with evidence for ongoing internal language change and for the role of language contact with English. The analyses show a similar variational spectrum of LWC types and frequencies across speaker groups but a different distributional variation. The results show effects of register-levelling in the HS group, as they do not differentiate between the formal and informal setting unlike the MS group. Therefore, rather than transfer from the ML, the source of differing distributional variation of LWCs lies in the diverging adherence to register norms due to different exposure conditions across speaker groups.

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