Word-order variation in a contact setting: A corpus-based investigation of Russian spoken in Daghestan
This paper deals with word-order variation in a situation of language contact. We present a corpus-based investigation of non-standard word order in the variety of Russian spoken in Daghestan, and focus specifically on noun phrases with a genitive modifier. In Daghestanian Russian the non-standard word order GEN+N often occurs. At first glance, this phenomenon might be easily explained in terms of syntactic calquing from the speakers’ left-branching L1s. However, the order GEN+N does not occur with the same frequency in all types of genitive noun phrases: prepositive genitives are favored by several lexico-semantic and formal features of both the head and the genitive modifier. Therefore, we are not dealing with a simple calquing process. Rather, L1 influence strengthens certain universal tendencies that are not motivated by contact. The comparison with monolinguals’ Russian, in which prepositive genitives sporadically occur too, supports the latter hypothesis.