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Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities - RUEG

Dynamics of information structure in language contact

Shanley Allen, Kaiserslautern | Oliver Bunk, Berlin | Sabine Zerbian, Stuttgart

This project investigates the dynamics in the linguistic expression of information structure in
the repertoires of heritage language speakers. Its research questions directly emerge from
pertinent findings from the first phase of the Research Unit “Emerging Grammars” (RUEG1).
The project will investigate three aspects of information structure: (i) introduction of new
referents, (ii) topic constructions, and (iii) focus and prosody. We will investigate these
phenomena in the RUEG corpus of bilingual and majority speakers of German, English,
Russian, Greek and Turkish. The intricate interplay of (morpho)syntax and intonation for the
expression of information structure has been shown to be open to new developments in the
language contact contexts in which we collected data in RUEG1. Therefore, we investigate the interplay of
information structure with syntax and intonation in a comparative perspective, and relate our
research questions to the new Joint Ventures of the Research Unit.

Cooperation Partners

Jana Gamper (U Gießen), Johanne Paradis (U Alberta, Canada), Tamara Rathcke (U Konstanz), and Mercator Fellows: Cristina Flores (U Minho, Portugal), Jeannine Treffers-Daller (U Reading, UK)


PhD Students

Tatiana Pashkova, Stuttgart