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P7: Intonation and word order in majority English and heritage Russian across speaker populations

Sabine Zerbian, U Stuttgart

The project investigates non-canonical intonation in its relation to syntax (i.e., word order) and information structure (i.e., focus, givenness), focusing on the language contact involving Russian as heritage language and English as majority language. The project looks at the two languages of heritage speakers and compares them to monolingual native speakers, adopting a new approach in research on intonation in heritage languages. Moreover, it investigates intonation in formal vs. informal speech because we know from research on monolingual speech that there are phonetic correlates of register, which need to be differentiated from grammatical aspects of intonation. Finally, intonation will be investigated for different age groups, thereby addressing the question of how stable intonational differences are over (part of) the life span.
In line with RUEG’s overarching approach, the project investigates non-canonical prosody in three Joint Ventures (short: “JV”): addressing the systematicity of new intonational patterns (JVI: “Language Change Hypothesis”), their occurrence at internal (syntax) versus external (information structure) interfaces (JVII: “Interface Hypothesis”), and, by including further comparisons beyond English-Russian contact, their contact-linguistic source in transfer or general contact-induced change versus language-internal dynamics or general developments (JVIII: “Internal Dynamics Hypothesis”).

Cooperation partner:

 Antje Muntendam, Florida State University