2021-11-08Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1007/s11185-021-09246-1
Word order in heritage Russian: clause type and majority language matter
Sprach- und literaturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Heritage speakers (HSs) are known to differ from monolingual speakers in various linguistic domains. The present study focuses on the syntactic properties of monolingual and heritage Russian. Using a corpus of semi-spontaneous spoken and written narratives produced by HSs of Russian residing in the US and Germany, we investigate HSs’ word order patterns and compare them to monolingual speakers of Russian from Saint Petersburg. Our results show that the majority language (ML) of HSs as well as the clause type contribute to observed differences in word order patterns between speaker groups. Specifically, HSs in Germany performed similarly to monolingual speakers of Russian while HSs in the US generally produced more SVO and less OVS orders than the speakers of the latter group. Furthermore, HSs in the US produced more SVO orders than both monolingual speakers and HSs in Germany in embedded clauses, but not in main clauses. The results of the study are discussed with the reference to the differences between main and embedded clauses as well as the differences between the MLs of the HSs.
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