AcqVA Colloquium: Spring 2019

The talks will take place at the Dragvoll campus in Trondheim.

May 14, 2019, room 3432, 14:15
Associate Professor Minna Lehtonen, University of Oslo & MultiLing

Cognitive consequences of bilingualism – the way forward?
Bilingualism and second language learning have been reported to show an advantage to monolinguals in cognitive control functions. This benefit has been hypothesized to stem from life-long experience of bilingual language use and control, such as frequent switching between the languages. Recent evidence casts doubt on the hypothesis, and the field also suffers from methodological issues, such as problematic research designs and measures used. Ways to move forward in this field and initial findings from attempts to utilize such complementary approaches will be discussed.

April 30, 2019, room 3432, 14:15
Professor Caroline Heycock, University of Edinburgh

Have you any idea what’s going on?  Have-raising and its loss in Scotland
(Joint work with Gary Thoms, David Adger E Jamieson and Jennifer Smith)

In this talk I’ll present some of the kind of work that the SCOSYA (Scots Syntax Atlas) has been doing over the last three years. I’ll briefly present how we have been going about trying to document syntactic variation across the country, and the type of data that we have been gathering. Then I’ll focus on the data relating to the (variable) loss of “have-raising”, such that some dialects have now lost this option completely (so that the negative of “I have the money” can only be expressed as either “I don’t have the money” or “I haven’t got the money”); others have retained it; but still others show a definiteness effect (e.g. “I haven’t any monay” is OK, but “I haven’t the money yesterday” is not). I’ll present our proposal according to which these expressions of possession are in some cases structurally ambiguous, and that the pattern of loss – including the temporary emergence of the definiteness effect – is the result of competition between the different possible structures.

March 12, 2019, room 4402D, 14:15
Dr Sol Lago, University of Potsdam

The role of crosslinguistic variation in the processing of possessive pronouns
Languages vary widely in the type of syntactic constraints encoded by their grammars. Can this variation influence speakers’ processing of new languages? This talk addresses this question by focusing on the processing of possessive pronouns, whose grammatical properties differ across languages. For example, the German possessives sein/ihr (‘his/her’) simultaneously agree in gender with a preceding possessor and a following possessee noun. By contrast, English possessives only agree in gender with the possessor noun, whereas in Spanish and many other Romance languages, gender agreement depends solely on the possessee noun. We will examine whether these crosslinguistic differences create problems for language learners and discuss several acceptability and eye-tracking studies that examined how bilingual (L2) and multilingual (L3) speakers of Spanish and English comprehend German possessive pronouns in real time.

March 5, 2019, room 4402D, 14:15
Dr Fatih Bayram, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Untangling the Source of Individual Variation in Heritage Language Acquisition
Differently from the documented consensus on the outcomes of typical monolingual language acquisition (but also see Dąbrowska, 1997, 2003 for the role of experience with input for monolingualism), heritage language (HL) research shows that adult HL grammars tend to differ (on a continuum) from that of monolinguals and from one another on the individual level (see, Montrul, 2008, 2016; Polinsky, 2018; Kupisch and Rothman, 2016). Moving beyond the effects of individual-level attrition (Polinsky, 2011) and incomplete/arrested development (Montrul 2008, 2016) in HL outcomes, a growing body of research focuses on the dynamic effects that different types of input may have on heritage language development and ultimate attainment outcomes. In this talk, I will discuss this latter line of research (i.e., Kupisch and Rothman, 2016; Putnam and Sanchez, 2013; Karayayla and Schmid, 2018; Bayram et al., 2017, Llyod-Smith et al., in prep.) showing that increased experience with high quality input and opportunity for use in the heritage language (HL) decreases the likelihood of divergence from monolingual baselines. Building up on this line of research, I will, then, outline the experimental design of the project BLINK that aims to untangle the non-random nature of individual variation in HL development and outcomes. To do so, BLINK tests the hypotheses that (i) HL acquisition does not differ qualitatively from any other instance of child language acquisition (ii) HL outcome variations are more superficial than what is claimed in the literature (i.e., not always representational in the mental grammar) and (iii) representational divergences, when/if they obtain, can be correlated to key experience-based variables that explain the differential path and outcomes of HL development.

Previous semester:
Fall 2018

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