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Masha in Potsdam, Germany

June 28, Maria Polinsky talks about "Heritage Language as a Window on Language Design" to Potsdam's Research Unit on Emerging Grammars in Language Contact Situations, on which Masha is a Mercator Fellow supported by the German Research Foundation.


Abstract: This talk examines the linguistic knowledge of heritage speakers: unbalanced bilinguals who grow up learning a minority language but use the dominant language of their society as adults. Such speakers are ubiquitous in modern society and studying their language offers a window on universal principles of language structure (which they follow), vulnerable domains in language (which undergo change in these speakers’ language), and principles of language reorganization. We show that their language is constrained by strict rules of underlying grammar, not just online limitations.