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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Gender agreement in heritage languages: Agreement Puzzles in Monolingual Grammar and Beyond


Professor Maria Polinsky will give a talk on her research on heritage Russian (“Heritage” language is a language learned at home, but without input from the social environment, as often occurs in situations with children of immigrants). The goal of this talk is twofold; Professor Polinsky will firstly present and analyse material from a number of languages to do with gender agreement on different parts of speech (adjectives, determiners) in noun phrases and in predicate nominals under ellipsis; secondly, she will use this material to argue that heritage speakers (unbalanced bilinguals whose weaker language typically corresponds to a minority/immigrant language and who are dominant in the societally major language) do not always have the same grammatical representations as baseline speakers, i.e. those whose language serves as the input for heritage language acquisition. In examining agreement in the noun phrase and agreement under ellipsis, she will show that sometimes heritage language amplifies tendencies inherent in the baseline, whereas in some contexts the two grammars diverge. The next big question is how we can predict areas of divergence between the baseline and heritage language. The talk will be followed by 10 minutes of Q&A.

Please join the talk on 17th November 2020 at 17:30 (GMT)

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Meeting ID: 951 1918 0341|Passcode: 080827 (Free Event)