Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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This paper discusses possible attrition of verb second (V2) word order in Norwegian heritage language by investigating a corpus of spontaneous speech produced by 50 2nd–4th generation heritage speakers in North America. The study confirms previous findings that V2 word order is generally stable in heritage situations, but nevertheless finds approximately 10% V2 violations. The cases of non-V2 word order are argued to be due to lack of activation of the heritage language grammar, making it vulnerable to crosslinguistic influence from the speakers’ dominant language. This crosslinguistic influence does not simply replace V2 by non-V2, but is argued to operate more indirectly, affecting (a) the distribution of contexts for V2 word order, and (b) introducing two new distinctions into the heritage language, one (indirectly) based on a similar distinction in the dominant language (a difference between adverbs and negation with respect to verb movement), the other based on frequency of initial elements triggering V2 in non-subject-initial declaratives. Together, these findings also indicate that crosslinguistic influence affects different contexts of V2 differently, providing support for analyses that treat V2 word order as the result of many smaller rules.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): attrition; crosslinguistic influence; processing; verb movement; word order
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