Personal pronoun variation in language contact

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The paper investigates variation in the form of personal pronouns in the informal speech of Estonians living in the United States (N = 23). VARBRUL analysis determined the factors influencing the variation of long and short form of personal pronoun and zero vs. pronominal subject. Three groups of speakers differed significantly: the late bilingual older WWII refugees, the early bilingual younger WWII refugees and the late bilingual recent immigrants. All speakers had maintained the functional long/short variation. The older refugees preferred long forms, possibly indicating a change in the monolingual community. The early bilingual speakers preferred overt pronouns, suggesting a language contact effect. The age of immigration, extent of education in L1 and L1/L2 use in networks appeared to correlate with patterns of pronoun use.


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