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A constructional approach to language in contact: Background and basic concepts of Diasystematic Construction Grammar

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Plenary lecture, Construction Grammar: new advances in theor­etical and applied linguistics, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, 12. 5. 2017
A constructional approach to language in contact:
Background and basic concepts of
Diasystematic Construction Grammar
Steffen Höder (Kiel)
CxG as an exploratory expedition
2
HIC SVNT DRACONES
TERRA NVLLIVS
language contact
& multilingualism
CxG as an exploratory expedition
3
Growing interest in CxG and multilingualism: earlier work
different contact situations [Pietsch 2010, Doğruöz & Backus 2009, …]
second-language acquisition [Haberzettl 2007, Ellis 2013, …]
contrastive studies [Boas 2010, …]
Growing interest in CxG and multilingualism: recent work
individual projects [Wasserscheidt 2015, …]
FRIAS workshop: Constructions across grammars [Hilpert & Östman 2014]
ICCG 8: Construction grammar and language contact [Boas & Höder forthc.]
Work on/in DCxG
myself [Höder 2012, 2014abc, 2016ab, forthc.]
collaborative work [Höder, Onysko, Tingsell & Prentice in prep.]
others
[Hendrikx, van Goethem & Meunier 2015, Colleman forthc., Weber forthc., Urban forthc., …]
High German/Low German
regional German/Danish varieties
Old Swedish Latin
Structure
4
Background
What is (and what isn’t) Diasystematic Construction Grammar?
Insights from contact linguistics
Socio-cognitive realism in construction grammar
Basic concepts
Idioconstructions and diaconstructions
The multilingual repertoire as constructicon
Constructional generalization and reorganization
Two FAQs
Language-specific input, but diasystematic constructicon?
Generalization gone wild?
1
2
3
Background
5
What is (and what isn’t) DCxG?
6
Yet another approach?
no new flavour of CxG
usage-based CxG, applied to language contact situations
CxG and contact linguistics
Insights from contact linguistics
7
Centuries-old debate: Language contact within or outside the system?
The early contact linguist’s view
es gibt keine völlig ungemischte Sprache
[there is no totally unmixed language] [Schuchardt 1884: 5]
vs
The traditional systematicist’s view
languages are never mixed [Müller 1861/1994, vol. 1, 69]
es giebt keine gemischte Sprache, so wenig als ein Individuum, ein
Organismus jemals Anderes ist als eine strenge Einheit
[there is no mixed language, nor can an individual or an organism ever
be anything but a strict unity] [Schleicher 1850/1983: 27]
Insights from contact linguistics
8
MULTILINGUALISM
PSYCHO-
LINGUISTICS
HISTORICAL
LINGUISTICS
SOCIO-
LINGUISTICS
‘LANGUAGE’
CONTACT
LINGUISTICS
MULTILINGUALISM
PSYCHO-
LINGUISTICS
HISTORICAL
LINGUISTICS
SOCIO-
LINGUISTICS
‘LANGUAGE’
CONTACT
LINGUISTICS
Insights from contact linguistics
9
Language contact is everywhere
most communities/individuals are
multilingual [Lüdi 1996: 234ff.]
at least some knowledge and use of
different languages for different
communicative purposes is globally and
historically normal [Oksaar 1980: 43]
Insights from contact linguistics
10
MULTILINGUALISM
PSYCHO-
LINGUISTICS
HISTORICAL
LINGUISTICS
SOCIO-
LINGUISTICS
‘LANGUAGE’
CONTACT
LINGUISTICS Languages interact in multilingual
speakers’ cognition
wholistic view’ of multilingualism
[Grosjean 1989: 4, 2008: 9ff.]
linguistic knowledge is not the sum of
monolingual competences
joint processing
different languages are not
stored/processed in isolation [Bialystok et
al. 2009: 92ff., Kroll et al. 2015: 380ff.]
Insights from contact linguistics
11
MULTILINGUALISM
PSYCHO-
LINGUISTICS
HISTORICAL
LINGUISTICS
SOCIO-
LINGUISTICS
‘LANGUAGE’
CONTACT
LINGUISTICS
Language contact affects language structure
typical: convergence to some degree [Kühl & Braunmüller 2014]
potential endpoint: isomorphism
morpheme-per-morpheme-intertranslatability[Aikhenvald 2007: 28ff.]
construction-per-construction intertranslatability[Höder 2014a: 149]
exact structural equivalence[Heine & Kuteva 2005: 179f.]
metatypy[Ross 2007]
MULTILINGUALISM
PSYCHO-
LINGUISTICS
HISTORICAL
LINGUISTICS
SOCIO-
LINGUISTICS
‘LANGUAGE’
CONTACT
LINGUISTICS
Insights from contact linguistics
12
Multilingualism serves a community’s needs
‘complementarity principle’ [Grosjean 2008: 22ff.]
polyglossic distribution in whole societies
association with specific domains in smaller
groups
pragmatic functions of code-switching and
language choice [Gardner-Chloros 2009: 42ff.]
MULTILINGUALISM
PSYCHO-
LINGUISTICS
HISTORICAL
LINGUISTICS
SOCIO-
LINGUISTICS
‘LANGUAGE’
CONTACT
LINGUISTICS
Insights from contact linguistics
13
What is a ‘language’ anyway?
“a shprakh iz a dialekt mit an armey un flot[Weinreich 1945: 13]
fuzzy language boundaries in diffuse situations
[Le Page & Tabouret-Keller 1985]
no one is monolectal: multilectalism is literally everywhere
[Höder 2014a: 137]
upper limit on number of grammars?
one discrete grammar per language/dialect/variety leads to an
enormous number of coexisting grammars [Croft 2000: 52]
Insights from contact linguistics
14
multiple grammars
= coexisting, but
separate systems
B A
discrete sets of
linguistic structures
B A
overlapping sets of
linguistic structures
monolingual view on multilingualism
multilingual view on multilingualism
common ‘repertoire’
[Matras 2009: 308f.]
Socio-cognitive realism in construction grammar
15
The ‘creed’ of DCxG [Höder 2014a: 140]
The grammatical description of a language
system in a multilingual environment i.e. the
socially conventionalised set of all structural
elements shared by a specific speaker group as
well as cognitively stored and processed by the
individual speakers must include structures of
all languages or varieties involved, and the social
establishment and individual acquisition of such
a system must be inherently multilingual.
socio-cognitive realism
multilingual system
A ‘diasystem’ can be constructed by the linguistic
analyst out of any two systems which have partial
similarities […]. But this does not mean that it is
always a scientist’s construction only: a ‘diasystem’ is
experienced in a very real way by bilingual (including
bidialectal’) speakers […]. [Weinreich 1954: 390]
multilingual system
socio-cognitive realism
Socio-cognitive realism in construction grammar
16
Grammar is community-specific [Höder forthc.]
[D]escribing and analysing the grammar of ‘languages’ is rather
pointless, unless they coincide with the entire set of linguistic structures
used by a particular community. Strictly speaking, this will hardly ever be
the case, given the discrepancies between the linguistic knowledge of
individual speakers even within monolingual groups, but it is most
definitely not true for multilingual communities.
[A] multilingual community’s grammar of a given language may be
essentially different from a monolingual community’s grammar of the
same language.
Socio-cognitive realism in construction grammar
17
Getting rid of the ‘Procrustean Cornet’
RCxG is ‘vanilla CxGwith no toppings
[Croft 2005: 277]
DCxG is vanilla CxG without the
‘Procrustean Cornet’ of a priori
language-specificity [Höder 2014c: 216]
Basic concepts
18
Idioconstructions and diaconstructions
19
Language-specificity is not a given
High German-Low German code-switching [Höder 2012: 244]
Keinen Muckefuck, richtigen Kaffe, dat smeckt goot.
no coffee.substitute real coffee that tastes good
An dat Licht kann de Hausmeister nix ännern.
at the light can the janitor nothing change
In Kiel mag Anna nich wahnen.
in Kiel likes Anna not live
ambiguous (or, rather: unspecific) cxns
schematicity
lexical
[
Kaffe]
[
nix]
morphological
Present 3
rd Singular [V-t]
Infinitive [V
-(e)n]
syntactic
Declarative Main Clause [
TOP Vfin …]
Idioconstructions and diaconstructions
20
Division of labour
multilingual(s’) utterances instantiate
language-specific idiocxns (< idiosyncratic cxns)
language-unspecific diacxns (< diasystematic cxns)
dat
dat
smeckt goot
smeck- goot
V-t
TOP Vfin
LG idiocxns
diacxns
das schmeck- gut
das schmeckt gut
HG idiocxns
Idioconstructions and diaconstructions
21
Language-specificity as pragmatic meaning
cxn form syntactic
morphological
phonological
meaning/function referential
grammatical
socio-pragmatic
Differences in form mark differences in function
language choice
is functional and conventional (complementarity principle)
language-specificity
marks the current context as belonging to a specific set of
communicative settings typically associated with ‘language X’
[‘communicative frames’, Fischer 2010]
shorthand notation <CX>
The multilingual repertoire as constructicon
22
Constructional network
idiocxns and diacxns linked via inheritance links
form X
meaning X
form X + …
meaning X + … <CA>
form X + …
meaning X + … <CB>
diacxn
idiocxns
___ω,N
‘girl’
Mädchenω,N,NEUTR
‘girl’ <CHG>
Deernω,N,FEM
‘girl’ <CLG>
The multilingual repertoire as constructicon
23
Constructional network
Inchoative Pseudo-Coordination [Höder 2014a: 147ff.]
Und denn gehen sie bei und machen Kaffe.
Un denn gaht se bi un maakt Kaffe.
and then go they at and make coffee
BEI-GEHEN und V
<inchoative aspect>, <CHG>
AT-GO AND V
<inchoative aspect>
BI-GAHN un V
<inchoative aspect>, <CLG>
The multilingual repertoire as constructicon
24
Schematicity in diacxns
schematicity
Coffee
Nothing
[
Kaffe]
[
nix]
Laugh
[
lach-…]
Present 3
rd Singular
[V
-t]
Infinitive
[V
-(e)n]
House
[
h___V[au̯, u]s]
Nominal Plural
[N
-SUFFIX]
Declarative Main Clause
[
TOP Vfin …]
Inchoative
Pseudo-
Coordination
[
AT-GO, AND, V]
Girl
[
___ω,N]
lexical cxn,
partly
phonologically
schematic
syntactic cxn,
partly lexically filled
lexical cxn,
phonologically
schematic
Constructional generalization and reorganization
25
Usage-based approaches
general cognitive mechanisms shape organization of constructional
knowledge
instance-based abstraction and generalisation
preference for more general cxns, issues of economy vs redundancy
notwithstanding [cf. Goldberg 2006: 67ff.]
entrenchment, frequency effects, pre-emption, …
broad discussion in (Cognitive) CxG in general, no specific issue in DCxG
Constructional generalization and reorganization
26
No difference between multilingual and monolingual constructicons
diacxns established via the same mechanisms as any other cxn
interlingual identification’ of (subjectively, conventionally) equivalent
structures in the input
[cf. Weinreich 1964: 7, Höder 2014a: 141, Heine & Kuteva 2005: 291ff.]
based on (perceived) similarity of form and/or function
e.g. Declarative Main Clause [TOP Vfin …] in HG/LG input
Constructional generalization and reorganization
27
Degree of diasystematicity
broadly definable as the proportion of diacxns in the multilingual
constructicon
higher DoD in constructicons comprising typologically similar languages
[Thomason 2014, Babel & Pfänder 2014, Palacios & Pfänder 2014]
higher DoD entails simpler overall system
General prediction
language contact will lead to an increase in diasystematicity over time
if contact-induced change occurs, it will be ‘pro-diasystematic
[Höder 2012, 2014abc, forthc.]
in most cases, pro-diasystematic change will ‘surface’ as structural
convergence [Höder 2014b]
pro-diasystematic change means simplification
Constructional generalization and reorganization
28
Pro-diasystematic change
Relativization in 14th/15th Old Swedish/Latin
[Höder 2010: 199ff, 2012: 253ff.]
[BirgAutA 74]
þin vikarius þær sittar i þinum staþ / hafar
your deputy REL sits in your place has
[Sermones 101]
The preste som væl foresta sino æmbete
the priests REL well administer their office
[Bir gOSw 149]
kærlekin hwlkin høxth ær j allom dygdom
love-DEF.M.SG REL-M.SG.NOM highest is in all virtues
[Bir gLat 164]
… Petrus, qui fuit princeps apostolorum
Peter-M.SG.NOM REL-M.SG.NOM was prince apostle-GEN.PL
older Old Sw:
uninflected relative
particle
Latin and
younger Old Sw:
inflected relative
pronoun
1
separate
idiocxns
2
pragmatic
bleaching
3
reorganization
Constructional generalization and reorganization
29
N REL.PARTICLE
sum <CSw>
<adnominal relativization>
<CSw>
NGNC:ijk REL.PRONGNC:ijk
QUI <CLa>
<adnominal relativization>
<CLa>
NGNC:ijk REL.PRONGNC:ijk
QUI <CLa>
<adnominal relativization>
<CLa>
NGNC:ijk REL.PRONGNC:ijk
QUI <CLa>
þär <CSw>
N REL.PARTICLE
sum <CSw>
<adnominal relativization>
<CSw>
þär <CSw>
N REL.PARTICLE
sum <CSw>
<adnominal relativization>
<CSw>
þär <CSw> HVILIKIN <CSw>
<adnominal relativization>
1
separate
idiocxns
2
pragmatic
bleaching
3
reorganization
?
4
(for
some
speakers/
in some
contexts)
Constructional generalization and reorganization
30
NGNC:ijk REL.PRONGNC:ijk
QUI <CLa>
N REL.PARTICLE
sum <CSw>
<adnominal relativization>
<CSw>
þär <CSw> HVILIKIN <CSw>
<adnominal relativization>
NGNC:ijk REL.PRONGNC:ijk
QUI <CLa> HVILIKIN <CSw>
<adnominal relativization>
N REL.PARTICLE
sum <CSw>
<adnominal relativization>
<CSw>
þär <CSw>
Two FAQs
31
Language-specific input, but diasystematic constructicon?
32
Q: How can diacxns be acquired on the basis of the speaker’s linguistic
input, if all input is language-specific?
A: It isn’t.
During acquisition, a cxns’s meaning is limited to a cognitively useful
minimum of contextually relevant knowledge.
A will be interpreted to mean whatever is recurring in contexts where A is
used (as opposed to B and C)
Only cxns restricted to specific communicative contexts will be acquired
as idiocxns.
holds both for filled and schematic cxns
language-specific lexical material in the input does not imply language-
specific schematic patterns
Generalization gone wild?
33
Q: Isn’t DCxG relatively far from WYSIWYG, considering extreme
phonological schematicity and the like?
A: No more than vanilla usage-based CxG in general.
There are (or so we assume) limits to generalization, but those are
domain-general and not language-specific, let alone DCxG-specific.
Extreme phonological schematicity is needed in monolingual systems
as well.
construction morphology, especially non-concatenative morphology, …
[Höder 2014c: 207ff.]
intonation patterns encoding illocutionary force
phonaesthemes, meaningful submorphemic elements [cf. Bergen 2004]
Similarly broad generalizations in other cxn types.
word-class cxns, clause type cxns, …
Summary
34
Summary
35
DCxG provides a way of modelling the linguistic repertoire in a socio-
cognitively realistic way that ties in with both current contact linguistic
approaches and CxG.
One key mechanism:
generalisation over all instances in constructions across all languages
the speakers are exposed to
No fundamentally new concepts necessary:
the same general cognitive mechanisms that are involved in
constructional organisation anyway
36
___ φ
‘thank you’
vielen Dank
‘thank you’ <CHG>
tack så mycket
‘thank you’ <CSw>
thank you
‘thank you’ <CEn>
dank ju ok
‘thank you’ <CLG>
gratias ago
‘thank you’ <CLa>
merci beaucoup
‘thank you’ <CFr>

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