Clause Structure in Heritage German

RUEG P3 is a subproject of the research unit “Emerging Grammars in Language Contact Situations: A Comparative Approach”, which is financed by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).


Project Team

PI: Prof. Dr. Rosemarie Tracy

Doctoral student: Wintai Tsehaye

Student research assisstant: Franziska Cavar

Research Questions

P5 investigates the linguistic resources of native speakers of heritage German who were born in the U.S. or moved there in infancy. German is one of their simultaneous first languages (2L1) or had a headstart as L1, with English – the majority language – close at its heels as an early second language. In a cross-sectional, apparent-time approach, registers of bilinguals with minority German and majority English will be compared with the repertoires of monolingual speakers of German and English. In addition, we will compare heritage German in the U.S. with a corpus of Namibian German available through P6, thereby taking into account different sociolinguistic settings and attitudes towards minority German and bilingualism. P5 will also compare heritage-German speakers with first-generation German-Americans in order to determine which novel patterns are already foreshadowed within the lifetime of pre-heritage bilingual speakers. Our main focus will be on word order, morphosyntactic features expressing finiteness and case, and argument structure.