4th Heritage Language Summer Institute University of Hawaii, June 21-25, 2010 Comparative Heritage Languages Silvina Montrul, Rakesh Bhatt, Roxana Girju, Archna Bhatia University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Acknowledgements • National Science Foundation grant # 0917593 to Silvina Montrul, Rakesh Bhatt and Roxana Girju. • Research Assistants Archna Bhatia Vandana Puri Kirsten Hope Vanesa Hernández Laura Romani Francisca Medrano Natalie Toomey Luminita Marcus
What we know so far • Heritage speakers exhibit a wide range of variation in their heritage language linguistic and communicative competence: from receptive knowledge to fully fluent and literate, and all shades in between.
What we know so far Heritage speakers have linguistic gaps in several aspects of their grammar: phonology, lexicon, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics Morphology seems to be a particularly vulnerable area in heritage speakers of different languages.
Some Research Questions • What is the linguistic nature of heritage language grammars? • How does reduced input in childhood impact heritage language grammars? • Which linguistic processes account for the observed patterns in heritage language grammars: attrition?, incomplete acquisition?, both? language contact and change? Other?
Some Research Questions • Does age of onset of bilingualism also play a role in shaping the structural properties of adult heritage language grammars? • Does the dominant language play a role in heritage language grammars (transfer)? When? • What are the universal (common) features of heritage language grammars? • What are the gaps in heritage language grammars that can be potentially addressed by instruction?
Although similarities among heritage language systems in different languages can be inferred from existing studies of Russian, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, etc., no study to date has compared different heritage languages on a shared grammatical domain using comparable methodology.
The study Differential Object Marking (DOM) in Spanish, Hindi and Romanian heritage speakers in the United States.
What is DOM? • Differential Object Marking (DOM) is a widespread phenomenon among languages of the world (Bossong 1991). • Many languages mark some direct objects overtly but not others. • DOM is an iconic procedure: It overtly marks morphologically arguments that are semantically or pragmatically more salient/prominent than their non-overtly marked counterparts.
Similarities between Spanish and Hindi DOM is the same marker as the obligatory dative case marker of indirect objects and dative subjects.
Similarities between Spanish and Romanian • The DOM marker pe is homophonous with the locative preposition pe in Romanian • (In Hindi and Spanish (Latin) DOM also evolved from a locative marker) • DOM in Romanian is more frequent with accusative clitic doubling • In some dialects of Spanish (Argentina), accusative clitic doubling with animate objects is common with DOM. • Romanian pe also appears in dative subject constructions in Romanian
Some syntactic analyses • Torrego (1998) • Lidz (2006) • Rodríguez Modoñedo (2007) DOM involves movement of the direct object to an extra functional projection (above the projection for regular unmarked objects) where the animate object receives marked accusative case.
Previous Studies Luján and Parodi (2001), Montrul (2004) and Montrul & Bowles (2009) found that Spanish heritage speakers • frequently omit “a” with animate, specific direct objects in oral and written production • overgeneralize “a” marking to inanimate objects (but this occurs less often)
Montrul (2004) and Montrul & Bowles (2009) also found that Spanish heritage speakers Accept ungrammatical sentences with missing DOM in written untimed grammaticality judgment tasks.
Research questions • Why is DOM omitted by Spanish heritage speakers? • Is omission related to the low acoustic salience of the DOM marker in Spanish? • If so, is “a” equally omitted regardless of syntactic distribution and semantic factors? • Or is “a” omitted only when it is an instance of “inherent” case and a complex interface phenomenon? • Does age of onset of bilingualism play a role in degree of DOM omission?
Hypotheses • If DOM is an “interface” phenomenon, it should be affected in Spanish, Hindi and Romanian. It should also be more affected in direct objects than in indirect objects. • If acoustic salience is relevant, then it should be omitted more in Spanish than in Hindi and Romanian. • If age of onset of bilingualism plays a role in degree of omission, then the earlier the onset of acquisition of English the more omission there will be at the individual level.
Screening Instruments • 6-page linguistic profile questionnaire for each language • Written proficiency measures parts of DELE and MLA tasks for Spanish developed cloze tests for Hindi and Romanian
Tasks in the three languages 1. Oral narrative task 2. Oral picture description Task 3. Aural comprehension task 4. Written comprehension task 5. Written production task 6. Bimodal untimed acceptability judgment task
Oral Narrative Task • In this task you will see 14 slides narrating a famous children’s story. • Your task is to retell the story, with as much detail as possible, in Spanish. • Please tell the story in the PAST • Pay attention! The end might surprise you. • Your story will be audio-recorded.
Oral Production Task In this task, you will see pictures, a verb and the names of the participants. You will need to produce a sentence using these elements. You may conjugate the verb in the present or past.
Example 1 dekh/ doK When you see: Michael You could say: Michael naavdekhrahaahai.
Example 2 When you see: phone karnaa/ faona krnaa Ana Peter You could say: Ana Peter ko phone karrahiihai.
uThaanaa/ ]zanaa Isha John
chuunaa/ CUnaa Ana baby
chuunaa/ CUnaa wall/ dIvaar Jerry
uThaanaa/ ]zanaa aadmii/AadmaI chaataa/Cata
Aural Comprehension Task Accusative condition
Aural Comprehension Task Dative condition