Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities - RUEG

P11 The heritage-speaker lexicon: dynamics and interfaces

Mareike Keller, Mannheim | Anke Lüdeling, Berlin | Rosemarie Tracy, Mannheim |

Within the context of RUEG2, P11 investigates stable and dynamic properties of the bilingual

lexicon of adolescent and adult speakers who acquired German as their first and heritage language and who were exposed to English as their majority language in a North American context. On the basis of RUEG’s cross-linguistic corpus, canonical and non-canonical features of the lexical repertoires of bilingual German-English speaker groups will be compared with the productions of monolingual speakers of German and English, as well as with those of majority English and majority German speakers with heritage languages other than German. For German and English as shared majority languages across RUEG projects, as well as for minority heritage German (investigated by P5 during RUEG1), P11 explores combinatorial properties, innovative lexical creations and productive word formation patterns. In cooperation with its partner projects, P11 will also address cross-linguistically and theoretically relevant issues concerning RUEG’s other heritage languages and developments in the heritage lexicon in general.

RUEG’s open access cross-linguistic corpus will be augmented by additional tiers with finegrained qualitative annotations of lexical phenomena in different registers (+/-formal, spoken vs. written). Preliminary explorations indicate that the lexicon offers a fertile testing ground for RUEG’s new joint ventures (JV4-6) with respect to:

(i) lexical and morphological inventory and its combinatorial properties (JV4)

(ii) use of lexical material in different registers (JV5)

(iii) lexical interactions within and across languages (JV6)

Thanks to RUEG’s carefully and systematically manipulated elicitation contexts and the production opportunities speakers were provided with, including informal settings, P11 is in a privileged position to address the linguistically, socio- and psycholinguistically relevant issues listed in (i)- (iii). In line with RUEG’s central question concerning the development of heritage speakers’ linguistic repertoires, we will focus on two kinds of dynamic processes: emergent properties involving the lexicon at internal and external interfaces – thereby picking up on issues that were relevant throughout RUEG1 –, and cues to lexical coactivation, competition, and online problemsolving. Features that are often noted in connection with the lexicon of heritage speakers and attributed to lack of knowledge (e.g. noncanonical word forms and collocations, disfluencies, (c)overt word searches) will be reconsidered in the light of an alternative interpretation, namely as systematic cues to the spectrum of resources available, to speakers’ inventiveness or, in Polinsky's terms, their willingness to “move boldly” (Polinsky 2018:327).


Cooperation Partners

Hans-Christian Boas (U of Texas, Austin), Stefan Engelberg (IDS Mannheim / U Mannheim);
Cristina Flores (U do Minho), Dafydd Gibbon (U Bielefeld), Dagmar Haumann (U Bergen),
Jaime Hunt (U Newcastle, Australia); Pieter Muysken (Radboud U), Polinsky (U Maryland), Esther Rinke (U Frankfurt), Petra Schulz (U Frankfurt), Doris Stolberg (IDS Mannheim), Jeanine Treffers-Daller (U Reading)

PhD Student

Wintai Tsehaye, Nadine Zürn


Student Assistants

Stella Baumann, Joshua Boivin, Nils Picksak, Elena Unger