Let’s fix it? Cross-linguistic influence in word order patterns of Russian heritage speakers in Germany

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The paper analyzes verb placement of heritage speakers of Russian in contexts where German has a fixed position of the finite verb: V2 in declarative main clauses and V-final in subordinate clauses. Russian exhibits a neutral SVO order in both cases, but verb placement is in general dependent on requirements of information structure. Verb placement in texts of 20 Russian-German bilinguals was compared to data from a monolingual control group. The analysis shows that the bilinguals maintain the pragmatic flexibility of verb placement in Russian. They did not exhibit an overuse of V2 structures in declarative main clauses. There is, however, a significant increase in V-final for subordinate and declarative main clauses, which may be due to transfer from German.


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