Language variation and language change in multilingual settings


Pädagogische Hochschule Vorarlberg
Projektleitung gesamt
Davydova, Julia; H.Prof. Dr. Priv.-Doz.
Projektleitung intern
Davydova, Julia; Dr.
Interne Projektmitarbeiter/innen
Externe Projektmitarbeiter/innen
2022 – 2024
(siehe die Englisch-sprachige Beschreibung)
Beschreibung (engl.)
The project explores language contact phenomena (substrate und superstrate influence, universal learning strategies) in the speech of English-dominant, Hindi-dominant and bilingual speakers of Indian English. In so doing, it describes the nature and extent of linguistic variation that spans a broad sociolinguistic spectrum. The empirical basis of the study is circumscribed to two domains of language: morpho-syntax (the English present perfect) and discourse pragmatics (quotative marking). The stratification of the informants into English-dominant, Hindi-dominant and bilingual is diagnostic of the sociolinguistic settings in which varieties in contact have been acquired (predominantly English, predominantly Hindi or mixed). The results indicate that superstratal influence is most noticeable in speech of English-dominant individuals. In contrast, Hindi-dominant and bilingual speakers demonstrate substrate-induced features in their speech. The universal learning strategies of simplification are limited to the linguistic repertoires of the individuals with predominantly Hindi background. Crucially, bilingual speakers appear to engage in the construction of creative coinages and lead an incipient language change in the domain of quotative marking. Against this backdrop, the study shows that bilingualism is a staple sociocognitive condition underpinning speakers’ linguistic creativity and its major prerequisite. It also pinpoints the importance of sociolinguistic differentiation through meticulous ethnographic fieldwork in the study of linguistic variation.