Linguistics PhD candidate Ariana Bancu successfully defended her dissertation, “Dynamics of language contact and language variation: the case of Transylvanian Saxon in the homeland and the diaspora,” on July 26.

Ariana’s dissertation committee included faculty members Marlyse Baptista (chair), Acrisio Pires, Robin Queen, Sarah Thomason, and Susanne Wurmbrand (University of Vienna).  

Congratulations from the Department of Linguistics!

Research Summary

A driving concern of my dissertation is to explore morpho-syntactic variation in Viscri Saxon, a dialect of Transylvanian Saxon (TrSax), originating in Viscri, Romania. I aim to determine how German and Romanian, the languages in contact with Viscri Saxon, affect the structure of the language. Are some domains of Viscri Saxon morpho-syntax more affected by contact effects than others? Do German and Romanian affect Viscri Saxon to different degrees? Can contact effects on Viscri Saxon be identified by comparing a variety from Romania to a variety from Germany? I address these questions by combining methods from language contact, focusing on factors that facilitate morpho-syntactic transfer, with methods from sociolinguistics, focusing on quantitative analyses that explore the effects of sociolinguistic factors on variation.