1887
Volume 34, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
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Abstract

Abstract

Imposition, a general mechanism of contact-induced change that manifests itself in creole formation, second language acquisition, and even language attrition (Winford 2013), is a result of unequal dominance in a multilingual’s languages, whereby linguistic features from an individual’s more dominant language are transferred to a less dominant language (van Coetsem 1988). In order to flesh out how imposition operates in multilinguals, this study compares the differences between Singaporean Chinese and Malay speakers in their use of in Colloquial Singapore English. Based on sociolinguistic interview data from twelve Chinese and eight Malay individuals, it is found that Chinese and Malay speakers differ primarily in two ways: (1) the preferred syntactic position for ; (2) the frequency of different contexts that appears in. By integrating theories from cognitive linguistics and findings from psycholinguistic studies, this paper argues that ‘equivalent’ constructions across two grammatical systems within a multilingual’s mind is a key channel through which imposition operates. To support this argument, differences between the speech of Chinese and Malay speakers are shown to be motivated by the presence or absence of ‘equivalent’ or parallel constructions.

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2019-12-14
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Chinese , construction , cross-linguistic influence , dominance , English , imposition , Malay and multilingual
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