Institute of English Linguistics (IfLA)

Project P7 (RUEG)

Information about RUEG project

Intonation and word order in majority English and heritage Russian across speaker populations

Beginning

2018

Funding Period

3 Years

Principal investigator

Prof. Dr. Sabine Zerbian

Project team

Yulia Zuban, M.A., PhD student

Student assistants

Yuliia Ivashchyk, B.A.

Marlene Boettcher

External cooperation partner

Dr. Tamara Rathcke, University of Kent at Canterbury

Visit of the RUEG Ph.D Day (University of Potsdam)

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Seminar at the university of Potsdam

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The project is part of the Research Unit "Emerging Grammars in Language Contact Situations:
A Comparative Approach" (RUEG): The project investigates non-canonical intonation in its relation to syntax (i.e., word order) and information structure (i.e., focus, givenness), focusing on the language contact involving Russian as heritage language and English as majority language. The project looks at the two languages of heritage speakers and compares them to monolingual native speakers, adopting a new approach in research on intonation in heritage languages. Moreover, it investigates intonation in formal vs. informal speech because we know from research on monolingual speech that there are phonetic correlates of register, which need to be differentiated from grammatical aspects of intonation. Finally, intonation will be investigated for different age groups, thereby addressing the question of how stable intonational differences are over (part of) the life span.

In line with RUEG’s overarching approach, the project investigates non-canonical prosody in three Joint Ventures (short: “JV”): addressing the systematicity of new intonational patterns (JVI: “Language Change Hypothesis”), their ccurrence at internal (syntax) versus external (information structure) interfaces (JVII: “Interface Hypothesis”), and, by including further comparisons beyond English-Russian contact, their contact-linguistic source in transfer or general contact-induced change versus language-internal dynamics or general developments (JVIII: “Internal Dynamics Hypothesis”).

Medienberichte:

RBB Kulturradio (19.12.2017) „Grammatik im Wandel – Wie Zweisprachigkeit Sprachen ändert“ 

Upcoming events:

  • 13-14.05.19: Meeting with Tamara Rathcke(University of Kent at Canterbury)

Topic: ‘Question intonation’

The meeting will be dedicated to the discussion of question intonation by speakers of three groups: heritage Russian speakers with the majority language English, heritage Russian speakers with the majority language German, and the monolingual Russian control group.

Meetings:

  • 31.05.18 – 01.06.18: Meeting of the RUEG Group (University of Potsdam)

Topic: ‘The contribution of P1-P7 projects to the joint empirical basis, research in   collaboration with other projects, engagement with broader society’

The whole group meeting was dedicated to the discussion of the collaborative research with other projects, i.e., distribution of data collection for pilot study, organisation of retreats, lab exchanges, meetings with Mercator professors and mentoring of PhD students. The elevator pitch for planned dissertation of PhDs and research fields of potential additional mentors were discussed in the scope of RUEG expectations. Besides data collection strategy, i.e., recruitment of participants, organizing sessions (in coordination with other projects), organisation of travels, transcription, anonymisation, alignment of data and annotations.

  • 03.05.18: Meeting with Maria Pohle (Projekt Pd in RUEG) (University of Potsdam)

Topic: ‘Methodological issues for the investigation of intonation and word order in majority English and heritage Russian across speaker populations’

The meeting was dedicated to the discussion of methodological support in domains of data collection strategy, corpus building and architecture. 

Topic: ‘Russian intonation’

The meeting was dedicated to the discussion of Russian Intonation and its transcription inventories (i.e., symbols for pitch accents, phrase accents, boundary tones) and their perceptual tolerance. Dr. Rathcke in her presentation 'Autosegmental-metrical approaches to modelling Russian intonation: Evidence and issues' discussed a relevant phenomenon of truncation in Russian Intonation.

Retreats:

  • 02.04.19 – 05.04.19: RUEG Retreat April (University of Mannheim)

Topic: ‘Central RUEG issues, transfer activities. Workshop Code-switching’

Retreat was dedicated to the discussion of central RUEG issues and transfer activities. The PhDs in coordination with PIs and Mercator fellows discussed and planned RUEG-internal issues, i.e., DGfS 2020, Alberta, AIM, publications etc. Besides, the participants participated in Workshop Code-switching, where different types of code-switching and clues to bilingual processing (cross-linguistic influence, contact-induced language change) were presented by Mercator fellows and invited researchers.

  • 04.09.18 – 07.09.18: RUEG LangSit Data Collection Retreat (University of Potsdam)

Topic: ‘Uniformity across languages and countries. Data Collection Workshop. Transcription & Annotation Workshop’

Retreat was dedicated to the discussion of challenges and solutions the elicitors might face when eliciting LangSit data. The practicalities such as recruitment and scheduling of participants, consent forms, technical and language issues, registers, chitchats were discussed in coordination with other projects.

Workshops:

  • 09.18 – 07.09.18: ‘Transcription & Annotation Workshop, Part 1’ (University of Potsdam)

During this workshop, the participants practiced the synchronized transcription of given data using different computer software packages for the scientific analysis of speech as well as software tools for creating, managing and analyzing spoken language corpora.

  • 12.18 – 07.12.18: ‘Transcription and Annotation Workshop, Part 2’ (University of Potsdam)

During this workshop, the participants discussed first sets of transcribed samples and some problematic data. Besides, the universal transcription guidelines and the normalization guidelines have been further developed and improved. Further steps of annotation have been outlined.

  • 02.19 – 01.03.19: ‘Transcription & Annotation Workshop, Part 3’ (University of Mannheim)

During this workshop, the steps of POS tag corrections, their annotation, problems and solutions have been outlined and discussed in coordination with other projects. Besides, the participants participated in the effective workflow of database normalization, its further development and improvement.

Data collection:

  • 09.18 – 25.10.18: Data collection in the USA, Part 1

24.09-04.10: Recruitment of heritage Russian speakers through Russian schools, churches, kindergartens, cultural institutions in the Greater Washington area (Virginia, DC, Maryland, Baltimore).

05.10-25.10: Data elicitation from the younger speaker group (14-17).

  • 02.19 – 31.03.19: Second data collection in the USA

27.02-10.03: Recruitment of heritage Russian speakers through social networking services (Facebook, CouchSurfing, Craigslist etc.), Russian language meetups, language exchange meetups (Mundo Lingo etc.), Russian day care centers, shops, restaurants, supermarkets, libraries, students clubs in New York City (NYC) (the boroughs: Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx).

11.03-31.03: Data elicitation from the older speaker group (22-36).

  • ‘Grammatische Kombiniererinnen: Linguistinnen sind Sprachveränderungen bei bilingualen Menschen auf der Spur‘, in a journal "Forschung & Leben" (University of Stuttgart)

Courses:

SoSe 2018. Advanced Phonology: Intonation in Language Contact (LA Bachelor / Master /GymPO; BA HF; MA Angl.; MA Wi.päd.) Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Sabine Zerbian

 

MA / BA Theses:

Herrmann, Jelena. 2018. Phonology of Code-Switching: A study of Russian-German bilinguals. MA thesis, University of Stuttgart.

Further information