The impact of second language (L2) on first language (L1), known as L2 transfer, has been suggested as a fundamental driving force of L1 attrition. The goal of this study was to test the differential attrition of verb aspect and tense in L1 (Russian) under the influence of L2 (German) grammatical properties. We also investigated whether the age of bilingualism onset and the amount of exposure to L1 modulate this L2 transfer effect.
We tested sentence processing in 30 adult Russian monolingual participants and 30 L1 attritors – Russian-German bilingual speakers – with early versus late bilingualism onset and with low versus high amounts of exposure to L1. Participants heard grammatically correct sentences, sentences with aspect violations and sentences with tense violations, and were asked to detect errors. The accuracy of participants’ responses was analysed using generalized linear mixed-effects modelling in R.
The L2 transfer effect was found, but was strongly modulated by the amount of L1 exposure: only bilinguals with little exposure to L1 showed greater attrition of L1 aspect compared to L1 tense. Moreover, the age of bilingualism onset proved to be more critical than the L2 transfer effect: an earlier bilingualism onset resulted in greater attrition of both aspect and tense in L1. The study provided new evidence about the differential impact of the grammatical similarity between L1 and L2, the age of bilingualism onset and the amount of L1 exposure on aspect and tense processing in L1 attritors.
Our findings suggest that greater L1 use after immigration helps bilingual speakers to be less susceptible to L2 transfer and prevents attrition of L1-specific grammatical categories. Also, a general decline in processing verbal morphology is more likely to occur in speakers with an early rather than a late onset of bilingualism.
The study investigates whether bilingualism has a measurable contribution to verbal and nonverbal creative performance. The performance of Russian—English bilingual and English monolingual college students residing in the USA was compared on the verbal and nonverbal indicators of the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults. The results demonstrated a bilingual advantage in nonverbal creativity and a monolingual advantage in verbal creativity. These findings contribute to the discussion of domain specificity of bilingual cognitive abilities with regard to creative thinking.
This paper presents an exploratory study on the use of frequency-based probabilistic word combinations in Heritage Russian. The data used in the study are drawn from three small corpora of narratives, representing the language of Russian heritage speakers from three different dominant-language backgrounds, namely German, Finnish, and American English. The elicited narratives are based on video clips that the participants saw before the recording. Since the current study is based on a relatively small corpus, we conducted a manual corpus-based analysis of the heritage corpora and an automated analysis of the baseline (monolingual) corpus to investigate the differences between the heritage and monolingual language varieties. We hypothesize that heritage speakers deploy fewer probabilistic strategies in language production compared with native speakers and that their active knowledge of and access to ready-to-use multiword units are restricted compared with native speakers. When they cannot access a single lexical item or a collocation, heritage speakers are able to tap both into the resources of the dominant language and the resources of their home language. The connection to the dominant language results in transferbased non-standard word combinations; when heritage speakers tap into the resources of their home language, they produce unattested in the monolingual variety, ‘‘heritage’’ collocations, many of which are nevertheless grammatically legitimate.
Aims and hypothesis:
The aim of this article is to introduce a case of syntactic borrowing. I test the hypothesis that the uses of volitional forms (optative, imperative, hortative and jussive) in complement clauses of the verbs of wish and in purpose clauses in East Caucasian languages evolve under the influence of Azerbaijanian.
Design/methodology/approach and data and analysis:
The data of 13 languages are considered in the paper. To prove that shared features are contact-induced, two control languages are included in the sample. Archi belongs to the same genetic group as the languages that use volitionals in subordinate clauses, but is exposed to Azerbaijanian to a lesser extent. Axaxdərə Akhvakh belongs to another group, but has strong contacts with Azerbaijanian due to recent migration.
A survey shows that volitionals are used in subordinate clauses most extensively in those languages whose speakers exhibit a high level of bilingualism in Azerbaijanian, and where the contact has been longer. I assume that there is a hierarchy of borrowability of subordinate constructions involving volitionals.
Although the influence of Turkic languages on the languages of the Caucasus in the domain of syntax has been previously discussed, the usage of volitionals in subordinate clauses has not.
It is acknowledged that social factors play an important role in shaping the linguistic consequences of contact. However, evidence of the correspondence between social factors and structural outcomes of language contact is still very scarce. The relevance of two social factors is shown in this paper: the ratio of bilingual speakers and the duration of contact.
I advance the hypothesis that connects the borrowability of particular constructions to their typological frequency, but the typology of subordinate uses of volitionals is not well enough investigated to make final conclusions.
This paper describes the repetitive prefix in Agul (Lezgic, East Caucasian), focusing on the grammaticalization path of this morpheme. The main question to be addressed is the hypothesis that the prefix has been copied from the closely related Lezgian language.
Aims and Objectives: We assess whether data on lexical borrowings obtained through field elicitation may point back not only to a specific donor language but also to its specific regional variety, and hence whether these data are a reliable tool for reconstructing unknown historical patterns of interaction between ethnic (sub-)groups.
Methodology: We use quantitative analysis of the data obtained by loanword probing — elicitations of short word lists from speakers of minority languages — to calculate the amount and source of lexical transfer. We compare the results across several areas with varying degrees of bilingualism and different contact varieties of the donor language to see how this influences the results of our analysis.
Data: The data for this study come from a large-scale collection of field data in Daghestan (72 speakers, 19 villages), with four Lezgic languages spoken as L1 and varying degrees of traditional bilingualism in Azerbaijani, a major Turkic language of the area.
Findings: Our method suggests that the speech communities clearly indicate one of the regional varieties of Azerbaijani as the donor, the Azerbaijani of Qax for the villages in the southwest of Daghestan (Akhty and Rutul districts) and the Azerbaijani of Daghestanian lowlands in the villages of the southeast of Daghestan (Tabasaran and Khiv districts). We also observe that the amount of lexical convergence with the donor depends not only on the level of bilingualism observed in the specific village but also on the L1 of this village, suggesting language borders as natural constraint to the spread of lexical borrowing.
Originality: The study is novel in that it is fully based on analysis of data on lexical convergence obtained through fieldwork on minority languages and provide quantitative results that can be compared across speech communities in the survey.
Implications: Our conclusion is that the method is sensitive enough to trace donorship to one specific regional variety of the donor language.
Limitations: While we were able to clearly detect not only a donor language but also its regional variety, our observations on the relative weight of the degree of bilingualism and language affiliation of a speech community as predictors of the amount of lexical convergence require more data obtained both from other linguistic environment and by different methods.
Adult second language learners have been found to have great difficulty in learning inflectional morphemes that are not instantiated in their native languages. It is proposed that this difficulty is a result of L2 learners not being able to automatically activate the meaning expressed by the morpheme because of the design of their native language. Three sentence-picture matching experiments were done to test if the plural meaning was automatically activated in sentence processing by Chinese and Russian ESL speakers. The critical stimuli included sentences that were congruent or incongruent in number with the pictures (e.g., singular word book with multiple books). Consistent with the predictions of the proposal, Russian ESL speakers, like native English speakers, produced a number-mismatch effect, responding more slowly to sentence-picture pairs that were not matched in number Chinese ESL speakers showed no such effect.
Aims and objectives:
In Dagestan, Russian is the language of education, urban way of life, and upward social mobility, and the means of communication between speakers of different languages. This is a result of a quick and drastic change. At the end of the 19th century, Russian was spoken by less than 1% of the population. The aim of this paper is to understand how such rapid spread of Russian as an L2 became possible.
The study uses quantitative data on Dagestanians’ language repertoires. We relate the command of Russian to certain facts from people’s biographies, such as the level of education, migration, warfare and military service, and other professional experience, and run regression analysis.
Data and analysis:
The data were collected by the method of retrospective family interviews during numerous field trips to highland Dagestan. We use information on 3519 individuals collected in 27 villages.
We conclude that the compulsory school education introduced in Dagestan in the 1930s is the social mechanism that resulted in the spread of Russian and its later development into a lingua franca. Russian was imposed from above and supported by the ideology that associated it with future and progress.
This is the first attempt to apply quantitative methods to a large collection of field data to reveal social mechanisms underlying the spread of a single L2 instead of local bilingualism.
The spread of one lingua franca across a large territory is attested in many areas. We suppose that lingua francas of different origin result from different constellations of social factors and show that in Dagestan lingua franca was imposed by the authorities via a systematic educational campaign. We also suggest it was the extreme linguistic diversity of Dagestan that brought Russian from a widely known L2 to a lingua franca.