By Andries W. Coetzee
Feb 03, 2013
A paper by professor Robin Queen appeared in the December 2012 volume of Language, the journal of Linguistic Society of America. As the flagship publication of the LSA, Language is reserved for the highest quality research that promises to be of interest to a wide audience of linguists across different subdisciplines. In the recent past, several Michigan Linguistics faculty have published in Language, a testament to the central role played by Michigan linguists in the field.
In her paper, Robin documents the unique intonational patterns observed in the German of second- and third-generation Turkish immigrants in Germany. She shows that these speakers have intonational grammars that differ in interesting and consistent ways from those observed in German L1 speakers and adult L2 learners of German. Her study presents evidence of language change that comes about through prolonged bilingual language contact. The study speaks to a variety of current issues in linguistics, including language contact, bilingualism, language change, heritage languages, and more. The full bibliographic information and abstract of the paper are given below.
Queen, Robin. (2012) Turkish-German bilinguals and their intonation: Triangulating evidence about contact-induced language change. Language, 88(4):791-816.
In this article, I focus on the intonation patterns of Turkish-German bilinguals to discuss intonation within the context of language contact and language variation. The intonational variance involves the realization of terminal rises as produced by second- and third-generation Turkish-German bilinguals living in Germany. These speakers produce two phonetically, phonologically, and pragmatically distinct rises, which differ from what is typically reported for German monolinguals. The primary phonetic differences between the two rises include the relative alignment and slope of the rise, with one rise aligning on the final syllable of the word regardless of the stress pattern and showing a significantly steeper slope than the other. Although the source of these two rises is likely the two languages used by the speakers, this is not a case of intonational code-switching. Rather, the two rises, along with other edge phenomena, form an intonational system in which the rises are in contrast with one another as well as with falls and level edge contours and as such play different pragmatic roles relative to one another.