Book

Constructions in Contact 2. Language change, multilingual practices, and additional language acquisition

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Abstract

The last few years have seen a steadily increasing interest in constructional approaches to language contact. This volume builds on previous constructionist work, in particular Diasystematic Construction Grammar (DCxG) and the volume Constructions in Contact (2018) and extends its methodology and insights in three major ways. First, it presents new constructional research on a wide range of language contact scenarios including Afrikaans, American Sign Language, English, French, Malayalam, Norwegian, Spanish, Welsh, as well as contact scenarios that involve typologically different languages. Second, it also addresses other types of scenarios that do not fall into the classic language contact category, such as multilingual practices and language acquisition as emerging multilingualism. Third, it aims to integrate constructionist views on language contact and multilingualism with other approaches that focus on structural, social, and cognitive aspects. The volume demonstrates that Construction Grammar is a framework particularly well suited for analyzing a wide variety of language contact phenomena from a usage-based perspective.
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Over the past decades, research on the linguistic impact of globalization has foregrounded the socio-pragmatic meaning potential and mental categorization of anglicisms, looking for signs of agentivity and contextual sensitivity in the way receptor language users incorporate borrowed English resources into their speech, both in form and in function. This brought attention to understudied phenotypes of contact-induced variation and change that go beyond the borrowing of individual lexical items (loanwords) from English. This paper aims to contribute to this endeavor, illustrating the potential of construction grammar to uncover the integration of borrowed chunks. In focus is the emergence of the verb pimpen “to pimp” in Dutch, a rapid innovation from the English proper name Pimp My Ride . A sample of 4,561 Dutch tweets containing (strings of) pimp posted between January 2007 and April 2020 was coded manually for formal and semantic properties. This allowed us to calculate an aggregate score of “deconstructionalization” both within and outside of the target construction [ pimp POSS N]. Results indeed reveal a gradual blurring of the sharp contours of the construction, but also indicate that this process mainly affects the instantiations closest to the original. Linked up with the mediatized origin of the construction, our results add to our understanding of the relationship between media, language contact, and what is referred to as glocalization.
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Steffen Höder is a Full Professor of Scandinavian Linguistics at the Institute of Scandinavian Studies, Frisian Studies and General Linguistics at Kiel University. He has a PhD from University of Hamburg (Scandinavian Studies) and his main research interest regards Language contact, Areal linguistics, Language change and variation, Construction grammar. Professor Höder is the author of several articles in international peer-reviewed journals and some of his current researches are about the Diasystematic Construction Grammar model. The present interview offers explanations that reveal mature reflections on the cognitive representation of grammar in a diasystematic perspective, contributing to interpretations of acquisition and descriptive phenomena of languages.
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