sixth heritage language institute june 18 22 2012 ucla n.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
Download Presentation


141 Views Download Presentation
Download Presentation


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript

  1. Sixth Heritage Language Institute June 18-22, 2012 UCLA WAYS OF STUDYING HERITAGE LANGUAGES Maria Polinsky Harvard University

  2. MAIN POINT • Heritage languages amplify phenomena and principles present and operational in the baseline • Therefore, studying heritage languages is critical to our understanding of natural language design


  4. STARTING POINT: HLS AND BASELINE LANGUAGES • Heritage languages bear significant resemblance to the languages from which they were formed (the baseline) • They tend to amplify certain trends that are already present in these languages

  5. STARTING POINT:HLS ARE LIKE HAPPY FAMILIES • Heritage languages deviate from the baseline in a number of ways • Contrary to expectations, they do not look enough like the baseline • Heritage languages bear significant resemblance to each other • They deviate from the baseline in similar ways which call for a principled explanation • Is that transfer?

  6. STARTING POINT: HLS AND LIMITATIONS OF TRANSFER • While there are some parallels between structures/forms in the heritage language and in the dominant language, such parallels are not exhaustive • What prevents heritage languages from transferring all they need from the dominant language?

  7. HERITAGE LANGUAGES AS A SOURCE OF LINGUISTIC DATA • Viewpoint A: Learning about heritage languages • Arriving at a comprehensive description of heritage languages, understanding their structure, processing, and origins • Viewpoint B: Learning from heritage languages • Using heritage languages as a new source of data feeding into theory construction

  8. WHY BOTHER WITH HERITAGE LANGUAGES? • New material for understanding language in time and space Better theory of acquisition, development, and evolution • Language origins • Language acquisition

  9. WHY BOTHER WITH HERITAGE LANGUAGES? • New angle on the core of human language capacity • Hence, new window on Universal Grammar

  10. WHY BOTHER WITH HERITAGE LANGUAGES? • New data for testing our theories of language structure and language processing • Language universals • Language structure Better theory of language

  11. OUTLINE FOR THE REST • Getting the relevant data: What populations to compare • Getting the relevant data: Methodologies for studying heritage languages


  13. COMPARISON POPULATIONS • Four- way comparison: • HL adults • HL children • Monolingual adults • Monolingual children • This allows us to separate attrition from incomplete acquisition

  14. DISTINGUISHING INCOMPLETE ACQUISITION FROM ATTRITION • Do child learners (future heritage speakers) and adult heritage speakers have the same morphosyntactic deficits? • If a child and an adult deviate from the baseline in the same way, the feature has not been acquired • If a child and an adult perform differently, the feature has been acquired but lost/reanalyzed

  15. INCOMPLETE ACQUISITION: A CHILD IN THE HEAD Adult heritage language = fossilized child language, with the level of fossilization roughly corresponding to the age of interruption?

  16. RUSSIAN NOUNS IN PALATAL CONSONANT (CJ) • Feminine: cerkov’ ‘church’, tetrad’ ‘notebook’, krovat’ ‘bed’, sol’ ‘salt’, ten’ ‘shadow’ • Masculine: put’ ‘way’, dožd’ ‘rain’, portfel’ ‘briefcase’, kalendar’ ‘calendar’ • Standard child language error: • feminine nouns are interpreted as masculine, up to age 7;0 (Gvozdev 1961) • independent of frequency


  18. RUSSIAN NOUNS IN PALATAL CONSONANT (CJ) • Gender of feminine nouns in palatal consonant is acquired late and poses a problem for monolingual and heritage children alike • This incompletely acquired feature then persists in HL adults

  19. ADULT HERITAGE GRAMMAR IS DIFFERENT Adult incomplete grammar undergoes attrition and is different from the “initial state” represented by heritage child grammar

  20. RELATIVE CLAUSES • Acquired early (2;0-2;6) • Universal preference for subject relatives • Error rate (wrong head choice), ages 4-6: • English : 10%-13% (multiple studies) • Indonesian: 11% (Tjung 2006) • Mandarin Chinese: 3.9% (Hsu et al. 2006, 2009) • Turkish: 4% (Slobin 1985) • Russian: 3.7%-4.2% (Fedorova 2005, Polinsky 2008, 2011)

  21. OBJECT RELATIVE CLAUSE COMPREHENSION: % TOKENS CORRECT, KOREAN Adults (C/H): 17/21, age 24; children (C/H): 6/23, age 7

  22. RELATIVE CLAUSES • HL children perform on par with age-matched monolingual controls and significantly outperform HL adults • The syntax of relative clauses undergoes a reanalysis across the lifespan and presents a case of attrition

  23. SEPARATING THE EFFECTS • Same HL with a different dominant language: minimize the effect of transfer • Structuring the tests in such a way that we could go against the transfer • (Russian relative clauses, Polinsky 2011)

  24. SEPARATING THE EFFECTS • Distinguish heritage speakers from heritage language learners • So far, no direct comparison between heritage speakers “in the wild” and HL re-learners • Many subjects of HL studies are drawn from HL classes (a self-selected group)

  25. COMPARISON POPULATIONS • Are heritage speakers like L1 or like L2? • To answer this question, we need to compare advanced L2 learners with heritage speakers • An outstanding question: how to match the two groups? • Level of L2 vs HL • Criteria to be used


  27. THE VALUE OF DIFFERENT METHODOLOGIES • Assessment • Behavioral studies • Neuroimaging


  29. APPROACHING VARIANCE • Extreme variation with regard to proficiency in heritage speakers • C.f. three-stage model (Polinsky & Kagan 2007) • (i) Acrolectal HS: high proficient, near-native speakers of Russian, maximally close to competent monoling • (ii) Mesolectal HS: clear deficencies if compared to monolingual • (iii) Basilectal HS: lowest-proficiency speaker, maximally removed from native attainment, may have never acquired literacy in Russian

  30. RATE OF SPEECH (RoS) CORRELATIONS • Does the rate of speech (measured in words per minute) correlate with any other independent properties of heritage language? • An ongoing project, but some results are already available

  31. RoS ILLUSTRATION: RUSSIAN GENDER • Baseline Russian: three genders (M, F, N) • Heritage Russian: three or two genders (two groups of HS) • Three gender group: phonological reorganization • Two gender group: Neuter nouns are re-analyzed as feminine

  32. END-STRESSED NEUTERS • Two strategies: • Neuter retained • Neuter reanalyzed as a feminine • Can the strategy be predicted based on other properties of an individual speaker? • Yes: strong correlation between rate of speech and neuter retention: • Higher RoS ~ three genders (neuter retention) • Lower Ros ~ two genders

  33. END-STRESSED NEUTERS • Correlation between the use of strategy and rate of speech • NNEU: average rate 86.1 w/min (N=15) • NFEM: average rate 45.4 w/min (N=16) • Baseline controls: average rate 104.2 w/min (N=20)

  34. RATE OF SPEECH CORRELATIONS • Rate of speech (measured in words per minute) may serve as a predictor of heritage speakers’ overall language proficiency • Advantages: • Does not rely on literacy skills • A very simple measure • Disadvantages: • More proof of the concept needed • Unclear what RoS actually reflects


  36. PRODUCTION • Production can be used for preliminary data mining • In assessing production, aim for a controlled setting • Video descriptions • Maps • Sentence completion • Elicited imitation

  37. HERITAGE ENGLISH • Work conducted in Israel by ArunViswanath (Harvard) and in France by Benjamin Gittelson (Columbia U) • 14-year old speaker describing a cartoon episode… (Israeli English)

  38. HERITAGE ENGLISH He wante- he go- he took from zeh garbage a cigarette, and, and zen he saw zeh police, said hello, and zen he, just, em, just, frewzeh garbage can- can, zen, eh, zeh rabbit, em, how it’s called…flowered his flowers, and zen he wanted to eat him, so he took a rope and went up, an- and zeh rabbit saw him, and he was wif scissors, so he cut ze- cut zeh rope, and zen he fell into zeh police…’s car. (So how did he notice the rabbit in the first place?) Because eh, zeh rabbit wan- eh, wer- because he flowered zeh, his flowers, uh, one, on- two drops went on him. (So where did the drops go?) One on his cigarette, and zeh, zeh fire, eh…not burned…blew out? And one on his nose.

  39. FRUIT CARTS • Speaker describes a map to a confederate who moves objects on the screen (Gómez Gallo et al. 2007) • Speakers produce spontaneous instructions to the confederate • Confederate does not give verbal feedback


  41. CONTROLLED PRODUCTION: CHINESE FRUITCARTS • Mandarin Chinese, baseline: Beijing dialect • 13 native speakers and 17 heritage speakers of advanced proficiency in spoken Mandarin • However, five HL speakers do not have the knowledge of formal registers

  42. BASIC FACTS ABOUT WORD ORDER IN MANDARIN • Basic word order is SVO, but attributes including relative clauses precede the head noun • Nouns occur with classifiers • Use of numerals with nouns is associated with indefiniteness • Locative expressions: in most cases, locative PPs appear before the VP • Serial verbs are widely used, and some serialization correlates with the presence of the ba-construction

  43. PROXY • Proxy: nounfilling the gap after the relative clause when the real head precedes the relative clause. • For instance: 把小三角形  [RC角上有圆点的]   图形移到北京 basmall triangle corner have ball de figure    move to BeijingREAL HEADRELATIVE CLAUSEPROXY ‘Move the small triangle with a ball on its corner to Beijing.’


  45. NUMERAL PHRASES • In Mandarin, numeral phrases include numerals and classifiers: 一个三角形 ‘a triangle’ yigesanjiaoxing NUMCLF NOUN • Generally, numeral phrases are considered indefinite • In our corpus, native controls used numerals less, esp. when the theme expression had modifiers (hence, was more likely to be definite) • Heritage speakers show lack of awareness of this subtle semantic feature


  47. WORD ORDER • Controls use the ba-construction, which is problematic for heritage speakers • Controls use prenominal relative clauses, heritage speakers use postnominal relatives

  48. RELATIVE CLAUSE PLACEMENT:NATIVE SPEAKERS • Relative clauses (RC) precede the head noun • Most native speakers strictly follow this rule [RC角上 有 菱形 的小][Head Noun 正方形] corner has a diamond ADN small square ‘a small square that has a diamond at its corner’

  49. RELATIVE CLAUSE PLACEMENT:HERITAGE SPEAKERS • Heritage speakers tend to put the relative clause after the head noun 在 北京,放一个大的三角形 边上 有一个点的 In Beijing, put a big triangle the hypotenuse has a dot ADN In Beijing, put a big triangle that has a dot on its hypotenuse • Possible reasons: • Late planning in production, due to the overall complexity of the theme description • Interference from English

  50. VERBSVS. VERB COMPOUNDS • Another difficulty contributing to the lack of ba-construction in heritage speakers: use of verb compounds • Heritage speakers show a strong tendency to use simplex verbs in all their constructions