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A Usage-based investigation of converbial constructions in heritage speakers’ Turkish living in the Netherlands

Akkuş, Mehmet
This study presents an analysis of contact-induced language change process concerning clausal subordination in the Turkish variety spoken in the Netherlands (henceforth, Dutch Turkish). This study also aims at investigating whether the converbial constructions are prone to language change in the speech perception and production of the first and second generations of Dutch-Turkish speakers within the framework of usage-based linguistics (Barlow & Kemmer, 2000). According to usage-based linguistics, there is an “intimate relation between linguistic structures and instances of use of language” (Kemmer & Barlow, 2006, p. 2) which suggests that a more direct relation is considered to exist between one’s language experience and abstract representations in grammar. In other words, linguistic representations are strongly connected to ‘usage events’ in the speaker’s linguistic system. The study aims to answer the following research questions: Is the use of converbial constructions by the 2nd generation bilingual DutchTurkish speakers subject to contact-induced language change in the Netherlands? Are the converbial constructions produced by the 2nd generation bilingual speakers conventional? Is there a difference in term of perception of most-frequently used converbial constructions between three speaker groups? In order to answer these questions, this study encompasses a mixed method research design utilizing semi-structured interviews and a grammaticality judgment task (GJT) applied to three groups of participtants: Dutch-Turkish bilingual speakers with 1st generation background (N=11), Dutch-Turkish bilingual speakers with 2nd generation background (N=12) and a control group of Turkish monolingual speakers (N=12). The rationale behind including two generations into the study lies on the assumption that if converbial constructions are considered as a sign of language change, a difference between two generations will be revealed due to the differences in their exposure and use of language, which are ensured via a language background questionnaire. Our findings reveal that the participants’ perceptions and speech production of converbial constructions indicate a linguistic change in converbial constructions in the aspects frequency of use of converbs, and unconventional usages of converbs in non-finite constructions.