Clause combining in Turkish as a minority language in Germany

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As is well known, Turkish is a language which has predominantly non-finite subordination in the domain of clause combining. In addition, Turkish contains a variety of strategies of finite clause combining, and the distribution between finite and non-finite strategies can be related to register differences, with nonfinite structures belonging more to the written register and finite structures more to the spoken register. This paper aims to develop a theoretical understanding of (conceptually) oral versus (conceptually) written language in Turkish, and to use this understanding in order to interpret the dynamics of language shift in the domain of clause combining in Turkish in Germany, that is, in the variety of Turkish which has developed in the minority setting in Germany over the past fifty years. The approach is demonstrated with regard to the use of the connector çünkü “because” in written and spoken Turkish in Turkey and in spoken Turkish in Germany.


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