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October 21, 2011-Pieter Muysken

Friday, October 21, 2011
12:00 AM
2001 LSA Building

Pieter Muysken from Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands (contact/socio) ABSTRACT: Traces of Contact In January 2008 the five year ERC Traces of Contact project started in Nijmegen. It was the occasion for forming the Languages in Contact group (www.ru.nl/linc), together with some other projects and with some other grant money. In this group we study language contact with different techniques, at four levels of geographical scale, and at four time depths: (a) comparative structural studies on the languages of South America, and in particular those of the Amazonian fringe; (b) elicited corpora of the languages of Suriname; (c) elicited corpora of heritage languages in the Netherlands; (d) production and perception experiments with multilingual Turkish- and Papiamentu-Dutch individuals. Key questions are always the extent and mechanisms of cross-linguistic influences. Linguistically, our focus is primarily the TAME (tense, modality, aspect, evidentiality) system and the systems of argument marking in these four settings. With our group we are now about half way through the project. The first sets of results are in, much fieldwork has been done already, some publications are out. However, now the hard questions are coming. Can we do everything we promised? Do our results come near answering our original research questions? I will begin sketching the project, then present some intermediate results, and finally turn to these hard questions, as a basis hopefully for discussion.