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Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities - RUEG

RUEG Conference - Dynamics of Language Contact

New Perspectives on Emerging Grammars, Variation and Change
Virtual Conference | Berlin, February 21st to 23rd, 2021

Calendar

Our conference will have three thematic sessions dedicated to different aspects of heritage speakers’ language production and comprehension, and a poster session. The three thematic sessions will be introduced by invited speakers, followed by commentaries. All times CET.
[Program]

[Sessions - start 21 February, 4 pm]

Call for Papers

RUEG invited submissions on language contact phenomena from the point of view of linguistic systems (grammatical structure, linguistic architecture), and speakers (competence, choices, sociolinguistic factors). In addition to papers presenting new findings on language contact phenomena, we also welcomed methododological papers with a general focus on studying linguistic patterns outside standard language.
[Call for Papers]

Opening Session

On the first day, the conference will connect with the International Mother Language Day, focusing on educational implications for multilingual settings. Live Talk and discussion.
Invited speaker: Janet Fuller, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
[Join Opening Session - starts 21 February]

Technology

RUEG conference technology will combine Zoom and Gather.town. Zoom will be used for sessions and live plenary talks.  Gather.town will be used for coffee discussions, and poster sessions. All events can be found on this calendar.

 

Organising and Scientific Committees

Organisers: Mareike Keller, Annika Labrenz, Katrin Neuhaus, Christoph Schroeder, Luka Szucsich
Scientific Committee: Artemis Alexiadou, Shanley Allen, Natalia Gagarina, Anke Lüdeling, Maria Polinsky, Shana Poplack, Christoph Schroeder, Luka Szucsich, Rosemarie Tracy, Heike Wiese, Sabine Zerbian

[RUEG welcome - starts 21 February]

Contact and Participation

General Requests: Coordination Team
Opening session: Katrin Neuhaus
Participation: Annika Labrenz
If you want to attend the conference as a guest listener, please write an e-mail until the 18th of February 2021.

 

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Program

Sunday, 21 February | 5-6:30 p.m. (CET)

Opening session: Educational implications for multilingual settings

On the first day, the conference will connect with the International Mother Language Day, focusing on educational implications for multilingual settings.

Invited speaker: Janet Fuller, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Transfer event


Monday, 22 February | 12 p.m.-3 p.m. (CET)

Session 1: Attrition vs. Innovation

What linguistic developments characterise bilingual speakers’ productions in heritage and majority languages? Is it possible to detect systematic patterns which could be best analysed as newly emerging grammars, or is it more plausible to speak of attrition?

Keynote speaker: Tanja Kupisch, Universität Konstanz
Commentary: Maria Polinsky, University of Maryland

Terje Lohndal (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway) & Michael T. Putnam (Pennsylvania State University, United States): Dynamic Complexity in Heritage Morphosyntax: A Case Study of Grammatical Gender

Serkan Uygun (University of Potsdam, Germany) & Claudia Felser (University of Potsdam, Germany): Effects of Subject Position and Animacy in Turkish Subject-Verb Agreement

Aylin Coskun Kunduz (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States) & Silvina Montrul (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States): The Role of input in the Acquisition of Differential Object Marking by Turkish Heritage Language Children in the United States

Andrea Listanti (University for Foreigners of Siena, Italy) & Jacopo Torregrossa (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Germany): The Acquisition of Postverbal Subjects in Heritage Italian: How Timing of L1-Acquisition Modulates the Acquisition of Syntax-Discourse Interface Structures

 

Monday, 22 February | 4-7 p.m. (CET)

Session 2: Transfer vs. Internal Dynamics

What impact does language contact have? Is it plausible for certain linguistic patterns to assume direct transfer from one language to another, do non-canonical patterns in heritage speakers’ production rather reflect general patterns of language contact, or do they pick up, and possibly generalise, language-internal tendencies that are also evident in monolinguals? What role do different registers play?

Keynote speaker: Ad Backus, Tilburg University
Commentary: Shana Poplack, University of Ottawa

Christian Zimmer (FU Berlin, Germany): The Interdependence of Internal and External Factors inducing Grammatical Innovations in Namdeutsch

Dalit Assouline (University of Haifa, Israel): The Emergence of Grammatical Animacy in Israeli Heritage Hasidic Yiddish

Grazia Di Pisa (University of Konstanz, Germany) & Theo Marinis (University of Konstanz, Germany): Gender Agreement in Italian Heritage Speakers: Effects of Markedness, Proficiency and Language History

Melanie Uth (University of Cologne, Germany): Emerging Grammar in Language Contact: Evidence from Word-Final Nasals in Yucatecan Spanish and Yucatec Maya


Tuesday, 23 February | 12 p.m.-3 p.m. (CET)

Session 3: Methods in research on patterns outside standard language

How can we best capture linguistic patterns that fall outside formal standard language? What methods in corpus and experimental linguistics are suitable to study speakers’ repertoires in general? What methods in corpus and experimental linguistics are suitable to detect and capture possible heritage language grammars or other types of non-standard grammars in particular?

Round table: Maria M. Piñango, Yale University and
Anatol Stefanowitsch, Freie Universität Berlin

Jeanine Treffers-Daller (University of Reading, United Kingdom), Zehra Ongun (University of Reading, United Kingdom), Cise Cavusoglu (Near East University, Northern Cyprus, Cyprus), Valentina Christodoulou (University of Cyprus, Cyprus), Theodosia Demetriou (University of Nicosia, Cyprus), Christiana Themistocleous (University of Reading, United Kingdom), Julia Hofweber (University College London, United Kingdom) & Michal Korenar (University of Reading, United Kingdom): Can Two Unrelated Languages Be Mixed? Evidence from a new Method to Investigate Codemixing

Sally Dixon (University of New England, Australia): Untangling Structural Patterns in Multilingual Repertoires: A Novel Application of the Variationist Framework to Grammars in Contact.

Serkan Uygun (University of Potsdam, Germany) & Harald Clahsen (University of Potsdam, Germany): Morphological Generalization in Heritage Turkish

Kari Kinn (University of Bergen, Norway) & George Walkden (University of Konstanz, Germany): Investigating Historical Heritage Languages: Possessives in Norn

 
Tuesday, 23 February | 4-7 p.m. (CET)
Poster session
t.b.a.

Extended poster session with lightning talks dedicated to the topics described in 1-3.

 

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From the Call for Papers:

In the past, language contact was often regarded as exceptional and multilingualism was either seen as a potential problem, as reflected in Jespersen’s (1922) and similarly in Weisgerber’s (1966) early assumptions that multilingualism poses a cognitive problem, or it was neglected, as in the structural linguistics’ tradition which, beginning from Saussure (1916), focusses on an idealized, stable, and implicitly monolingual language system, also evident in Chomsky’s (1965) notion of competence of an ideal speaker-hearer. Accordingly, linguistic phenomena observed in language contact situations, and linguistic practices and competences of multilingual or bilingual speakers have mostly been the domain of specialised research, and tend to be investigated from the point of view of deviations from monolingual data.

While this might seem a natural way to look at it, lately there have been more and more calls to overcome such a deficit-oriented view, feeding into a discussion that acknowledges linguistic diversity as a normal condition of human language, normalises multilingualism and regards bilinguals as regular native speakers (e.g. Grosjean 2008, Bayram 2013, Rothman & Treffers-Daller 2014, Scontras et al. 2015, Guijarro-Fuentes & Schmitz 2015, Kupisch & Rothman 2016, Schroeder 2016, Bak 2017).

This moves research on language contact and multilingual speakers from the fringes to the centre of linguistic research, and makes it fruitful for our understanding of language structure and linguistic representations, language use and language development.

A particularly interesting population for this is that of “heritage speakers”, that is, of speakers who grew up bi- or multilingually with at least one minority language and a majority language (cf. among others Montrul 2016, Polinsky 2018, Lohndal et al. 2019 for details). This pattern supports intense language contact in dynamic linguistic repertoires, with the heritage language typically starting as a native language at home, while the larger society’s majority language usually becomes the speaker’s dominant language later.

The Research Unit “Emerging grammars in language contact situations: A comparative approach” (RUEG; www.linguistik.hu-berlin.de/de/institut/professuren/rueg) has picked up on this with an integrated, large-scale investigation that has been driven by a positive, multilingual perspective on heritage speakers’ linguistic behaviour. Under this perspective, we think of the dynamics, rather than vulnerability, of different linguistic domains, of development, rather than incomplete acquisition, and of innovation, rather than attrition and loss in heritage speakers’ languages.

This international conference marks the completion of RUEG’s first 3-year-period. It aims to bring together researchers from different fields who study the dynamics of language contact from a positive, multilingual perspective.

At present, we plan to have the conference on site. However, depending on further developments in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic, we might have to move it online. Remote participation will in any case be possible.

We invite submissions on language contact phenomena from the point of view of linguistic systems (grammatical structure, linguistic architecture), and speakers (competence, choices, sociolinguistic factors). In addition to papers presenting new findings on language contact phenomena, we also welcome methododological papers with a general focus on studying linguistic patterns outside standard language. We will have three thematic sessions dedicated to different aspects of heritage speakers’ language production and comprehension, and a poster session. The three thematic sessions will be introduced by invited speakers, followed by commentaries.


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