Fitting a monolingual solution to bilingual data [CANCELLED]
Emma Vanden Wyngaerd
(Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Saturday (April 22nd), 13:45-14:10
Lipsius 148

Code-switching (CS) has been said to be “a hallmark of bilingual communities world-wide” (Poplack 2001: 2062). Studying the interaction of the two grammars involved in CS can be a valuable tool for investigating linguistic structure, as it makes information accessible which is not always available when only looking at monolingual data.

Adapting Generative accounts developed for monolingual systems to explain bilingual data can be problematic. Take the V2 phenomenon: In V2 languages, such as Dutch (1), the finite verb moves to the second position of the clause. In English (2), the finite verb remains in post-subject position.

(1) Gisteren zag ik Adele.
(2) Yesterday I saw Adele.

Traditional Generative accounts (such as Holmberg (2015)) assume the following for V2 languages:

(3) a. a functional head in the left periphery (C0) attracts the finite verb
      b. this functional head then attracts something (the adjunct in (1)) to its specifier position

Non-V2 languages are thought not to have this functional head(in declarative main clauses). A Dutch-English bilingual, will acquire two systems: one with a C0 to trigger V2 word order (Dutch), and one without a C0 (English).

The main issue with such accounts is that they make no predictions when it comes to mixed structures. As it is an unlexicalised structural position that determines V2 effects, it is unclear which structure a code-switching bilingual would choose: the English structure (4-a), or the Dutch structure (4-b). However, both native and non-native bilinguals show a strong preference for (4-a).

(4) a. GISTEREN I saw Adele.
      b. GISTEREN saw I Adele.

This talk will elaborate on the issues faced by the traditional account(s) of V2 when analysing bilingual structures. Some possible solutions to get around the problem will be developed. This talk will also report the results of a grammaticality judgment task (currently in progress) testing these different hypotheses.