Project B9 (Zerbian, Schroeder)

Prosodic focus marking in language contact


The project investigates prosodic marking of information structure due to contact-induced change in selected contact varieties of Germany and South Africa. It starts out from the observation that the languages of the world differ with respect to whether and how new and given discourse information is marked prosodically. The varieties that are investigated are German as spoken by Turkish migrant youth, German as a second language (L2) of speakers with Turkish as a first language (L1), as well as Black South African English as L1 and L2. The project investigates which mechanisms are at play in the prosodic marking of information structure in these varieties: Transfer, as known from L2 research, or linguistic innovation.

A first research goal of the project is to describe prosodic marking of new and given discourse information in the contact varieties mentioned. A second goal is to compare the patterns with those observed in the reference varieties German, Turkish, English and Zulu/Sotho, and to categorize any differences with respect to the mechanisms of transfer and/or innovation. A third goal is to evaluate the findings in the frame of markedness theory.

The project carries out controlled experiments in both contact situations. It addresses the production, perception and interpretation of the phenomenon in order to elicit cross-linguistically comparable data. Through this, it aims at answering the research question of how language contact influences the prosodic marking of information structure.

Full description 3rd phase SFB 632 / B9 (excerpt from the request) pdficon small


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