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Ling Fridays: Namboodiripad on contact-induced change
October 28, 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
An experimental approach to contact-induced change: Characterizing “contact”
Linguistics Fridays Colloquia talk
University of Michigan
(Email email@example.com for the link)
How does language contact contribute to cross-linguistic variation? This talk asks how the relationship between language experience and processing/acceptability might help explain contact and change in the ordering of subjects, objects, and verbs across languages. In the spirit of CHEILD (Roberts et al. 2020), I present some preliminary experimental work from my lab which is complementary to corpus-based studies investigating this question in functional typology, historical linguistics, and language evolution. However, in the process of building out this approach, our group has encountered some conceptual challenges rooted in essentialist thinking about variation across languages and language users. I focus in particular on the concept of “nativeness,” arguing that language users cannot be meaningfully divided into groups of “native” or “non-native” speakers/signers (Cheng et al. 2021, Cheng et al. 2022, Birkeland et al. submitted). I walk through the challenges and opportunities associated with letting go of essentialist notions of language experience as we attempt to build more accurate and humane models of language contact and change.