Article

Grammatical features of a moribund coalminers’ language in a Belgian cité

Article

Grammatical features of a moribund coalminers’ language in a Belgian cité

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Abstract

This article investigates grammatical features of Cité Duits , a moribund in-group coalminers’ language spoken in the town of Eisden in Belgian Limburg. Based on audio data from eight multilingual speakers collected through a method of sociolinguistic interviews in 2015, I show that certain features are a fusion of Belgian Dutch, German and the Maaslands dialect spoken in this area, in addition to ‘well-known’ and ‘new’ features. Since grammatical properties of this contact variety have hardly been researched yet, this contribution aims at filling this gap by providing a first analysis of selected morphosyntactic features including negation, bare NPs, non-inverted V3s and participle formation. Building on Aboh’s hybridity approach to the emergence of grammar (2017), I suggest that Cité Duits displays a recombination of linguistic features that have become part of a stable system over the decades. The basic idea is that speakers are capable of weaving together abstract properties of different varieties present in the input. Research on this mining language is therefore an extraordinary opportunity to investigate language and dialect contact, largely because of its recent emergence and direct information about the first generation of speakers and their social ties.

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... People's choices of languages and linguistic forms is connected with ideas about and stereotypes of and by the speakers we investigate as well as in society at large. Within AMC, we always examine these choices empirically and in doing so our research is an example of Engaged Humanities: it deals with pressing issues in society at large, such as the obligatory allocation of elderly to a nursing home and the process of (un)belonging (Makkinga, 2017), how to identify oneself when growing up locally but being born in a migrant family with various home languages in an isolated coal mining district (Auer & Cornips, 2018;Pecht, 2013Pecht, , 2015Pecht, , 2019Pecht, , 2021, and social categorization of and by students with and without a migration background and their labeling practices (van de Weerd, 2019). In addition, our research is interdisciplinary by tapping into both the humanities and the social sciences. ...
... Finally, she analyzed archive files stored by the Stichting Erfgoed Eisden to trace back the socio-historical background of the community. The combination of these methods allowed her to gain a more comprehensive understanding, implying that in addition to observing the in-group speech of the men she managed to observe linguistic behavior in a variety of other settings as well (see Pecht, 2019Pecht, , 2021. ...
... A peripheral area where speakers have been engaged in dynamic multilingual practices for decades is the cité of Eisden (BE) (see Auer & Cornips, 2018;Pecht, 2013Pecht, , 2015Pecht, , 2019Pecht, , 2021. The speakers, now all men in their eighties, have socially interacted with each other closely since their childhood. ...
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Mühlhäusler [J. Pidgin Creole Lang. 14(1999)121] has argued in his discussion of non-canonical creoles that the study of those contact varieties ‘which researchers in the past have found difficult to label’ (ibid., p. 357) is important for our understanding of contact languages. This article argues that their study can also be relevant to our understanding of second language acquisition/use as non-canonical contact languages are often situated on a continuum between pidginization (a group-based process of collective L2 norm emergence under conditions of minimal input) and the more general processes of (untutored) second language acquisition. An example of a non-canonical contact language is Namibian Black German. In the paper data on participle regularization in Namibian Black German and other German-oriented contact varieties (e.g. Unserdeutsch, Gastarbeiterdeutsch) will be discussed. Recent work in linguistic theory has argued that the language faculty has a dual structure, consisting of a lexicon and a computational system [Chomsky, N., 1986. Knowledge of Language: Its Nature, Origin and Use. Praeger, New York]. The formation of regular and irregular participles has been interpreted as reflecting this dual structure: regular participles show rule-based inflections, strong participles are lexical entries. The direction of language change as well as data from German L1 acquisition and elicited production experiments with native speakers have provided support for this model [Behav. Brain Sci. 22(1999)991]. The L2 data discussed in this paper suggests that the dual mechanism model cannot account for German L2 performance data or the direction of contact-induced language change. In this context, the article reviews questions of salience and markedness, access to the LAD and the relevance of general problem-solving skills in language learning.
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Dutch language users can use connective patterns to express backward causal relations. Sub-omdat patterns (omdat, ‘because1’, followed by a subordinated clause) and co-want patterns (want, ‘because2/since/for’, followed by a coordinated clause) can be used in both spoken and written Dutch. However, only in spoken Dutch, a third pattern might be used: the co-omdat pattern. A possible parallel phenomenon occurs in German. We will describe the co-omdat pattern against the background of a comparison of this so called “epistemic weil” pattern and present a first study on the co-omdat phenomenon. We analyse the co-omdat pattern from two linguistic perspectives: cognitive text analysis and spoken discourse analysis. We argue that the congruency seen in the resulting two analyses of co-omdat can be taken as strong support for the acknowledgement of a co-omdat construction in spoken Dutch.
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Article
Gedruckte Ausg. im Verl. Kassel Univ. Press (http://www.upress.uni-kassel.de) erschienen. Die vorliegende Arbeit gliedert sich in die aktuelle Diskussion um eine grammatiktheoretische Verortung der gesprochenen Sprache ein. Zentrale These der Arbeit ist, dass eine Theorie der Grammatik der gesprochenen Sprache komplexen Anforderungen genügen muss, die nur durch eine Modellierung mehrerer interagierender Theoriebausteine bewältigt werden können. Im theoretischen Teil der Arbeit werden zwei solcher Theoriebausteine vorgestellt, die einen ersten Schritt auf dem Weg zu einem Gesamtbild der Theorie der Grammatik der gesprochenen Sprache darstellen sollen. Die theoretischen Überlegungen werden im praktischen Teil der Arbeit auf die viel diskutierte Frage der grammatischen Einheitenbildung gesprochener Sprache angewendet.
Balthasar The Leipzig glossing rules : Conventions for interlinear morpheme - by - morpheme glosses https : / / www eva mpg de lingua / resources / glossing - rules php ( accessed
  • Comrie
Language contact in Africa and the African Diaspora in the Americas
  • Enoch Aboh
  • Oladé
Aboh, Enoch Oladé. 2017. Population factors, multilingualism and the emergence of grammar. In Cecelia Cutler, Zvjezdana Vrzić & Philipp Angermeyer (eds.), Language contact in Africa and the African Diaspora in the Americas. In honor of John V. Singler, 23-48. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Het Cité Duits: Een eiland in een zee van talen [Cité Duits: An island in a sea of languages
  • Kohlbacher
Kohlbacher, Jan. 2016. Het Cité Duits: Een eiland in een zee van talen [Cité Duits: An island in a sea of languages]. Paper presented at the Symposium Spoken Language in the Mines: Euregion and beyond. Maastricht University, Maastricht, 25-26 April, 2016.
Pieter This volume Multilingualism and mixed language in the mines of Potosí ( Bolivia ) International of the Sociology of Language IJSL )
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