Volume 6, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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This paper seeks to close a gap in the ongoing research on heritage languages (HL), their acquisition, and the nature of transfer in HL with a study on a hitherto understudied language combination, namely Italian heritage speakers (HS) raised in Germany with two native languages. The current study compares data from spontaneous speech of these HS with speech data from native speakers of Italian who immigrated to Germany as adults with German as L2, and Italian monolinguals. Analyses of Italian objects reveal that the HS show native knowledge about lexical options of object omissions and their pragmatic identification, and of object clitic use. The results indicate no evidence for covert transfer with regard to Italian object realization types. Finally, the study leads to the conclusion that Italian HS differ in fewer investigated aspects from Italian monolinguals than L1/L2 speakers.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): adult bilingualism; German; heritage language; Italian; objects; transfer
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