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Syntax in Contact. Word Order in a Contact Variety of German Spoken in Eastern Siberia

Journal article
Authors Christiane Andersen
Published in Journal of Language Contact
Volume 9
Issue 2
Pages 264-292
ISSN 1877-4091
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Pages 264-292
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1163/19552629-0090200...
Keywords spoken German in contact, Russian, corpus studies and language contact, word order, German
Subject categories Languages and Literature

Abstract

A large number of local German language communities, language islands (Sprachin- seln), were founded in different parts of Russia between 1765 and the second half of the nineteenth century. The continuity of development in the German-speaking communities was sharply interrupted by the Second World War. As a result, the specific variety of Russlanddeutsch ‘Russian German’ (rg) is in the process of dying out. This study investigates a sample of current spoken German in Eastern Siberia using the digitalized Siberian German Corpus (sgc) at the University of Gothenburg. The investigation attempts to establish (i) which word order variants are realized specifically in clauses with the German discourse marker nun ‘well’ and its Russian counterpart nu ‘well’, and (ii) what the effect of language contact could be. The results of the analysis show a large variety of word order phenomena in the examples containing Russian nu. Verb-first orders are common in the data investigated. These variants also contain subject pro-drop. Furthermore, it is shown that a high degree of language contact is involved in these word order variants with the Russian nu. Different types of borrowing (including lexical transference) are frequent features of this contact variety.

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