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Construction Grammar and language contact: An introduction

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... Thus, this volume also builds a bridge to other fields of research within (and outside) CxG. The most obvious of these fields is, of course, contact linguistics in general and research on contact-induced change from a historical perspective, for which CxG provides a very suitable framework, a point made explicitly by both Boas & Höder (2018a) and Traugott (2019). This is closely connected with the field of historical linguistics, in particular in its constructionist form, Diachronic Construction Grammar (e.g. ...
... This development raises the question of the semantic functions associated with the two variants of the construction -with and without the complementizer. Thus, both formal and possible semantic change (Boas & Höder 2018a) are in evidence in the case of the complement clause without overt complementizer. This is in contrast to the case investigated by Colleman (2018), where the formal options had been inherited from the Dutch ancestor and established in Afrikaans prior to contact with English, and the change is in the range of uses of the construction. ...
... Analogy relies on our ability to map an existing pattern onto a novel instance (Ibbotson, 2013) and to use this pattern to add novel items to a construction (Bybee, 2011). An example often mentioned in this regard is the to drive someone crazy-construction, as in It drives me crazy or They drive me mad (Boas, 2003;Bybee, 2011). To form new instances of this construction, speakers can use adjectives analogous to crazy and mad. ...
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Bilingual speakers of typologically closely related languages tend to frequently experience language transfer, which suggests that similarity between languages is likely to play an important role in the transfer process. In this paper, we explore how three different types of similarity affect transfer of light verb constructions ( lvc s), such as take a walk or set an alarm , from Dutch to German by native German speakers living in the Netherlands, namely: (a) similarity to existing constructions, (b) surface similarity based on whether the noun in the lvc is a cognate in Dutch and German, and (c) similarity in the light verb’s collocational contexts. The results suggest that all three types of similarity influence transfer: speakers add similar constructions to their language and they drop existing ones that happen to be less similar, ultimately facilitating convergence across the speakers’ languages.
... Eerstens word melding gemaak van soortgelyke studies oor tweetaligheid en tweetalige eerstetaalverwerwing (1.2.1); tweedens word kodewisseling en kodewisselingsnavorsing en die rol wat dit in die verwerwing van meervoudige tale vanaf geboorte vervul, bespreek (1.2.2); laastens word 1 Daar word deur ander taalkundiges (vergelyk Booij, 2019) na DiaKxG as diasistemiese konstruksiegrammatika verwys. Diasistematiese konstruksiegrammatika word egter algemener in die literatuur gebruik (vergelyk, onder andere, Boas & Höder, 2018;Colleman, 2018;Hendrikx et al., 2015;Hilpert & Östman, 2014;Peterson, 2016;en Van Rooy, 2021). In hierdie studie sal van diasistematiese konstruksiegrammatika (DiaKxG) gepraat word. ...
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Little research has been done on the way in which bilingual children acquire their first languages. This process – during which children acquire two languages simultaneously from birth – is known as bilingual first language acquisition (BFLA). Similarly, there is little research on the different language phenomena, such as code-switching, that can be observed when children acquire two closely related languages at once. Code-switching has not yet been investigated in a study involving Afrikaans-Dutch participants. Consequently, this study aimed to address this gap. To describe the code-switching in the speech of the group mentioned above, novel language data of eight preschool children between the ages of 2;3 and 6;4 who are raised bilingually in Afrikaans and Dutch in South Africa were collected and analysed. The parent-report method was employed to collect the data, and the data collection period lasted approximately two months. In aggregate, 123 utterances containing code-switching were analysed for the study. The study was undertaken within Steffen Höder’s (2014a) Diasystematic Construction Grammar (DCxG) because it provides a framework within which multilingual constructions can be analysed. DCxG is based on the general principles of traditional construction grammar (CxG) approaches but is specifically suited for analysing constructions that emerge from various language contact situations. As pointed out by Höder (2014a:138) and corroborated by Boas and Höder (2018:37) and Colleman (2018:146), language contact phenomena have only attracted the attention of a small number of construction grammarians in recent years. In fact, it also has a largely marginal status in prominent grammatical approaches. However, because of the ubiquitous nature of language contact phenomena (Boas & Höder, 2018:5), it cannot be excluded from grammatical approaches. From this perspective, DCxG was conceptualised. The main idea purported by DCxG is that a multilingual speaker’s grammar consists of two different types of constructions, namely idioconstructions and diaconstructions (Höder, 2012, 2014, 2018). These constructions respectively refer to the constructions that are unique to a specific language (idioconstructions) and the constructions that capture the overlap or similarities of the different languages (diaconstructions). Thus, a diaconstruction is a form-meaning mapping representing the mutual influence of the two (or more) languages on each other. Firstly, diaconstructions are formed by a cognitive process in which a multilingual speaker makes an interlingual identification between two (or more) corresponding idioconstructions. After that, the similarities in form and/or meaning of the respective idioconstructions are abstracted to a schematic construction through a process of generalisation. Finally, the diaconstruction is entrenched in the multilingual speaker’s grammar. The current study determined that the code-switching of the preschool, Afrikaans-Dutch participants mainly consists of intra-sentential code-switches (i.e., shifts that happen from one language or language variety to another in the middle of a word, phrase, or sentence) that take place on the (morfo-)lexical level. It was established that code-switching on the lexical level affects nouns more than any other part of speech, while verbs were affected the second most of all word classes. Furthermore, it was indicated that most of the constructions containing code-switching are structured in Afrikaans, with Afrikaans lexical items frequently being replaced with those from Dutch. Because of the overlap between Afrikaans and Dutch, these lexical items were mostly non-identical cognates (i.e., words that are etymologically related in Afrikaans and Dutch, but that differ graphemically) followed by the other two types of cognates that were identified, viz. non-cognates and false friends.
... This view on language acquisition resonates well with usage-based and Construction Grammar (CxG) approaches to the organization and acquisition of linguistic knowledge in general (cf. Tomasello 2003, Diessel 2013, Ellis & Wulff 2019, Hilpert 2019: 241-243, Matthews & Krajewski 2019) and current constructionist approaches to language contact and multilingualism in particular (Boas & Höder 2018), most importantly Diasystematic Construction Grammar (DCxG; cf. Section 2.1). ...
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Recent years have seen an increasing interest in applying Construction Grammar to additional language (AL) acquisition as well as in constructionist approaches to language contact and multilingualism, in particular Diasystematic Construction Grammar (DCxG; Höder 2018). This paper combines both perspectives by proposing a usage-based constructionist model of AL acquisition as emerging multilingualism. In line with earlier work on DCxG, we assume that multilingual speakers store and process all of their languages in terms of constructions that are organized into one common constructicon. From that perspective, AL learning amounts to an extension and reorganization of the constructicon, resulting not only in the gradual entrenchment of new constructions that represent (a learner variety of) the AL, but also in modifications of previously acquired constructions and the links between them. The model is illustrated by examples from different kinds of AL acquisition scenarios and also discussed in relation to current key concepts within non-constructionist research in the field of AL acquisition.
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This paper discusses the use of second language structures, particularly the use of interrogatives, as it can be understood in a construction grammar framework (cf. Goldberg 2003, Goldberg et al. 2004, Ellis and Cadierno 2009). It builds on previous research in first and second language acquisition, as well as Höder's proposed "Diasystematic Construction Grammar" (cf. Höder 2018, Höder et al. 2021). Moreover, the paper addresses the role of language acquisition theories in the context of language teaching and teacher training. Since teachers' knowledge is acquired in teacher education, language acquisition theories and their implications should be a fundamental part of their education. The case study is looking at the knowledge and use of interrogative constructions by learners of English. For this purpose, I analysed the language of learners in three German schools (age = 11-14, n = 100). The results of the analysis are then applied to a dynamic network approach (cf. Diessel 2019, 2020) to teaching English interrogative constructions. This means that the architecture of an emerging multilingual construct-icon is taken into consideration. This article focusses on learners of English with one particular L1 (German). It outlines a framework for teaching English constructions and their fillers that is based on language use as observed in a corpus.
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This article discusses the role of intra-word phonological schematicity in multilingual con-structicons from a Diasystematic Construction Grammar perspective. It argues that, in particular with communities that use two or more typologically similar and/or closely related languages, many lexical elements (e.g. cognates) exhibit regular sound correspondences that can be analysed as consisting of different types of phonological schemas. In this view, there is a division of labour between schematic constructions that specify the words' referential meaning and others that specify their belonging to one of the 'languages', with language-specificity defined as a pragmatic property of constructions. The focus is on the question whether generalizations at this level of schematicity and abstraction are cognitively real and what can count as evidence for their existence from a usage-based perspective.
Book
The last three decades have seen the emergence of Construction Grammar as a major research paradigm in linguistics. At the same time, very few researchers have taken a constructionist perspective on language contact phenomena. This volume brings together, for the first time, a broad range of original contributions providing insights into language contact phenomena from a constructionist perspective. Focusing primarily on Germanic languages, the papers in this volume demonstrate how the notion of construction can be fruitfully applied to investigate how a range of different language contact phenomena can be systematically analyzed from the perspectives of both form and meaning.
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Mainstream grammatical theory and traditional grammaticography concentrate on single languages or varieties, which are conceptualised as pre-existing, distinct entities and analysed in terms of coherent, static, ideally variation-free language systems. This is in stark contrast to actual language usage, where various kinds of structural contact phenomena are the rule rather than the exception. In line with recent insights from contact linguistics, Diasystematic Construction Grammar assumes that multilingual speakers and communities organise their grammatical knowledge on the basis of the available input via processes of interlingual identification, abstraction, generalisation, and categorisation, regardless of language boundaries. This results in a community-specific multilingual constructicon, comprising both language-specific constructions (restricted to certain communicative contexts associated with a particular language) and constructions unspecified for language.
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The phenomenon of language contact, and how it affects the structure of languages, has been of great interest to linguists. This study looks at how grammatical forms and structures evolve when speakers of two languages come into contact, and offers an interesting insight into the mechanism that induces people to transfer grammatical structures from one language to another. Drawing on findings from languages all over the world, Language Contact and Grammatical Change shows that the transfer of linguistic material across languages is quite regular and follows universal patterns of grammaticalization - contrary to previous claims that it is a fairly irregular process - and argues that internal and external explanations of language structure and change are in no way mutually exclusive. Engaging and informative, this book will be of great interest to sociolinguists, linguistic anthropologists, and all those working on grammaticalization, language contact, and language change.
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Language contact phenomena are often described with reference to their effect on the monolingual systems of the varieties involved, both in historical and in contact linguistics. This contribution argues that an essentially multilingual perspective on these phenomena is more adequate. Bilingual speakers in stable bilingual groups create a common system for all their languages, incorporating both interlingual links and language -unspecified elements along with language-specific structures. In a construction grammar analysis, such systems as well as changes within this type of system can be conceptualised as interlingual constructional networks, which are established, stored, and processed in exactly the same way as monolingual grammars.
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From a global and historical perspective, multilingualism or at least multilectalism is the rule rather than the exception. However, linguistic theory continues to focus on the idea of a prototypically coherent, static, and monolingual language system. A more realistic approach can set out from the notion of ‘diasystems’, i.e. linguistic systems including more than one variety. Apart from being theoretical constructs, diasystems are also an important component of multilectal speakers’ linguistic knowledge. Within a usage-based construction grammar approach, this paper argues that multilectal speakers (re-)organise their grammars by generalisation over individual constructions and across language boundaries. Therefore, the multilectal system can be modelled as an inventory of constructions that are partly language-specific and partly unspecified for language.
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In research on bilingualism it is often assumed that linguistic structures can be shared across languages. The emphasis on generalization and categorization in construction grammar also seems to imply that speakers can develop cross-linguistic representations. This contribution argues that generalizations can occur only on the semantic level. Data from typologically distinct languages shows that generalizations over form are not likely to play a role in language processing. It is further argued that neither syntactical nor grammatical form is needed in order to explain syntactic transfer.
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Usage-based CxG approaches share the central assumption that any grammar has to be acquired and organised through input-based abstraction and categorisation. Diasystematic Construction Grammar (DCxG) is based on the idea that these processes are not sensitive to language boundaries. Multilingual input thus results in multilingual grammars which are conceived of as constructicons containing language-specific as well as language-unspecific constructions. Within such systems, phonological structures play an important part in the identification of schematic constructions. However, the status of phonology in DCxG, as in CxG in general, yet remains unclear. This paper presents some arguments for including phonological elements systematically in the construction-based analysis of (multilingual) constructional systems.
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Mixture of Spanish and English, whether in isolated loan words or in code-switching of clauses and sentences, while socially motivated, is subject to clear linguistic constraints. Quantitative analysis of mixing in conversations of Mexican-Americans suggests specific functional constraints to express tense/aspect/mood and subject/object relationships, as well as structural constraints which permit only surface structures which are grammatical in both languages. Resolution of structural conflict plays a key role, so that lexical cores trigger longer phrasal switches if they govern rules which create non-shared surface structures. The relative frequency of mixes without structural conflict is constrained by discourse function.
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Introduction On the construct 'Predicate' The Structure of Signs Morphology The Lexical-Functional Structure of Predicates With and Without Particles Modification Passive Causatives Middles References.
Book
Without even considering the 150 Aboriginal languages still spoken, Australia has an unparalleled mix of languages other than English in common usage, languages often described by the term 'community'. Drawing on census data and other statistics, this book addresses the current suitation of community languages in Australia, analysing which are spoken, by whom, and whereabouts. It focuses on three main issues: how languages other than English are maintained in an English speaking environment, how the structure of the languages themselves changes over time, and how the government has responded to such ethnolinguistic diversity. At a time of unprecedented awareness of these languages within society and a realisation of the importance of mutlilingualism in business, this book makes a significant contribution to understanding the role of community languages in shaping the future of Australian society.
Chapter
This chapter aims at an integrative approach to the phenomenon of language interaction, dealing specifically with contact-induced language change within a code-copying framework. It gives a short introduction to this framework, discussing global and selective copying, structural accommodation and adaptation, habitualization and conventionalization. The chapter focuses on frame-changing developments through successive copying processes, problems of typological and genetic classification and the roles of code-internal and extra-linguistic factors.
Chapter
The book contains 30 descriptive chapters dealing with a specific language contact situation. The chapters follow a uniform organisation format, being the narrative version of a standard comprehensive questionnaire previously distributed to all authors. The questionnaire targets systematically the possibility of contact influence / grammatical borrowing in a full range of categories. The uniform structure facilitates a comparison among the chapters and the languages covered. The introduction describes the setup of the questionnaire and the methodology of the approach, along with a survey of the difficulties of sampling in contact linguistics. Two evaluative chapters, each authored by one of the co-editors, draws general conclusions from the volume as a whole (one in relation to borrowed grammatical categories and meaningful hierarchies, the other in relation to the distribution of Matter and Pattern replication). © 2007 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG,. All rights reserved.
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This article discusses word order of dependent clauses in Texas German, a German speech island on the brink of language death. The focus lies on dependent clauses that are introduced by sub-ordinating conjunctions. The question is whether the verb placement differs from the Standard German word order, and, if such a difference can be established, whether the change is due to language internal or external factors. To answer this question, various theories from the general research on language contact are used to interpret the Texas German data, and to connect it to the larger discussion of language change in German speech islands in the US. © 2017 Franz Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden GmbH. All rights reserved.
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This paper first shows how Frame Semantics grew out of earlier work on Case Grammar. Then, it discusses some of the basic principles of Frame Semantics and shows how these have been implemented in FrameNet, an online corpus-based lexicographic database (http://framenet.icsi.berkeley.edu). Using semantic frames to structure the lexicon of English, FrameNet provides a wealth of information showing how frame elements (situation-specific semantic roles) are realized syntactically (valence patterns). Finally, the paper provides an overview of how frame-semantic principles have been applied to cover non-lexical phenomena using compatible annotation and data formats. This so-called “constructicon” offers entries of grammatical constructions that are also based on corpus data and that are parallel to lexical entries in FrameNet.
Book
The Handbook of Language Contact offers systematic coverage of the major issues in this field - ranging from the value of contact explanations in linguistics, to the impact of immigration, to dialectology - combining new research from a team of globally renowned scholars, with case studies of numerous languages. An authoritative reference work exploring the major issues in the field of language contact: the study of how language changes when speakers of distinct speech varieties interact. Brings together 40 specially-commissioned essays by an international team of scholars. Examines language contact in societies which have significant immigration populations, and includes a fascinating cross-section of case studies drawing on languages across the world. Accessibly structured into sections exploring the place of contact studies within linguistics as a whole; the value of contact studies for research into language change; and language contact in the context of work on language and society. Explores a broad range of topics, making it an excellent resource for both faculty and students across a variety of fields within linguistics. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd except for editorial material and organization
Chapter
This chapter contrasts a broad use of the term frame in cognitive science with its related use in a type of linguistic analysis, describing the principles and data structure of a particular research project (FrameNet) as a model for representing frame-based analyses of lexical meanings. It introduces an extension of the project to include the semantic contributions of grammatical constructions and concludes by surveying the implications of a frames perspective on some familiar issues in linguistic semantics. © 2010 editorial matter and organization Bernd Heine and Heiko Narrog. All rights reserved.
Book
This volume provides a much-needed, critical overview of the field of constructions and construction grammar in the context of Singapore English, and poses the question of identifying a construction in contact when the lexicon is derived from one language and the syntax from another. Case studies are illustrated in which the possibility of a 'merger'-construction is offered to resolve such problems. The book is intended for students of construction theories, variation studies, or any researcher of contact grammars.
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It is quite commonplace for bilingual speakers to use two or more languages, dialects or varieties in the same conversation, without any apparent effort. The phenomenon, known as code-switching, has become a major focus of attention in linguistics. This concise and original study explores how, when and where code-switching occurs. Drawing on a diverse range of examples from medieval manuscripts to rap music, novels to advertisements, emails to political speeches, and above all everyday conversation, it argues that code-switching can only be properly understood if we study it from a variety of perspectives. It shows how sociolinguistic, psycholinguistic, grammatical and developmental aspects of code-switching are all interdependent, and findings in each area are crucial to others. Breaking down barriers across the discipline of linguistics, this pioneering book confronts fundamental questions about what a & #x2018;native language & #x2019; is, and whether languages can be meaningfully studied outside of the individuals who use them. © Penelope Gardner-Chloros 2009 and Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Article
The past decade has seen an unprecedented growth in the study of language contact, associated partly with the linguistic effects of globalization and increased migration all over the world. Written by a leading expert in the field, this much-needed account brings together disparate findings to examine the dynamics of contact between languages in an immigrant context. Using data from a wide range of languages, including German, Dutch, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, Croatian and Vietnamese, Michael Clyne discusses the dynamics of their contact with English. Clyne analyzes how and why these languages change in an immigration country like Australia, and asks why some languages survive longer than others. The book contains useful comparisons between immigrant vintages, generations, and between bilinguals and trilinguals. An outstanding contribution to the study of language contact, this book will be welcomed by students and researchers in linguistics, bilingualism, the sociology of language and education.
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In this paper I argue that it is often not possible to systematically distinguish between linguistically relevant knowledge and linguistically irrelevant knowledge. Based on a discussion of various meanings of words and the contexts in which they can occur I propose, following Fillmore (1982), a frame-semantic approach to the description and analysis of word meanings. Presenting a number of examples from the FrameNet lexicographic database for English, I discuss the types of different knowledge necessary to properly interpret a word’s meaning in context. Finally, I claim that the FrameNet approach to lexical description is also advantagous for the description of other languages and domains.