Connected Languages: Effects of intensifying contact between Turkish and Dutch

Author: Derya Demirçay
LOT Number: 488
ISBN: 978-94-6093-272-4
Pages: 240
Year: 2017
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Derya Demirçay

Connected Languages: Effects of intensifying contact between Turkish and Dutch

In today’s globalized world movement of people, information and knowledge is made easier each passing day. Thus, isolated, monolingual communities are rare in the modern world. This dissertation looks into bilinguals’ use of their languages within the community of Turkish-Dutch speakers in the Netherlands. It studies recordings of naturally occurring bilingual conversations among friend groups and monolingual interviews with second generation bilinguals. It approaches language as a usage-based system that is entirely made up of units which differ only in their degree of complexity, their degree of schematicity (a continuum from schematic, or open to lexical selection, to specific, or ‘lexically filled’) and in how entrenched they are. The speakers’ use of code-switching as well as the structural and lexical aspects of their Turkish are studied from this usage-based perspective to gain a deeper insight into how factors like frequency of use and semantic specificity affect their language use. The results of the analysis of their everyday in-group use of both Dutch and Turkish is used to reassess the conventional typology of code-switching patterns. Their Turkish is studied in order to assess whether changes that are found, in the form of deviations from Turkish as spoken in Turkey, might be explained by language contact. Contact-induced language change is a relatively new source of empirical data for usage-based linguistics; exploring the combination of theoretical perspective and empirical data allows us to further deepen our understanding of what drives language use and how the changes it makes visible can be explained.

Derya Demirçay

Connected Languages: Effects of intensifying contact between Turkish and Dutch

In today’s globalized world movement of people, information and knowledge is made easier each passing day. Thus, isolated, monolingual communities are rare in the modern world. This dissertation looks into bilinguals’ use of their languages within the community of Turkish-Dutch speakers in the Netherlands. It studies recordings of naturally occurring bilingual conversations among friend groups and monolingual interviews with second generation bilinguals. It approaches language as a usage-based system that is entirely made up of units which differ only in their degree of complexity, their degree of schematicity (a continuum from schematic, or open to lexical selection, to specific, or ‘lexically filled’) and in how entrenched they are. The speakers’ use of code-switching as well as the structural and lexical aspects of their Turkish are studied from this usage-based perspective to gain a deeper insight into how factors like frequency of use and semantic specificity affect their language use. The results of the analysis of their everyday in-group use of both Dutch and Turkish is used to reassess the conventional typology of code-switching patterns. Their Turkish is studied in order to assess whether changes that are found, in the form of deviations from Turkish as spoken in Turkey, might be explained by language contact. Contact-induced language change is a relatively new source of empirical data for usage-based linguistics; exploring the combination of theoretical perspective and empirical data allows us to further deepen our understanding of what drives language use and how the changes it makes visible can be explained.

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