Linguistics in the Netherlands 2014
  • ISSN 0929-7332
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9919


Domains where languages have two or more competing syntactic constructions expressing the same meaning may be problematic for bilingual heritage speakers. One such variable domain is the resultative constructions in heritage Ambon Malay, a variety spoken in the Netherlands by Dutch-Ambon Malay bilinguals. In Ambon Malay, resultatives are expressed mostly by means of verb serialization (SVC), although resultative prepositional phrases (PP) and adjectival phrases (AP) also occur. In Dutch, resultative constructions usually involve verb particles, PPs and APs. This overlap of structures poses the conditions for transfer effects between the two languages. The frequency distribution of SVCs, PPs and APs is investigated in semi-spontaneous speech from heritage speakers of Ambon Malay and compared to that of baseline speakers. Heritage speakers show an increase in the frequency of constructions shared by both languages (PPs and APs), while they underuse the constructions attested only in the heritage language (SVC).


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