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25 mei 2011: Lezing Seza Dogruöz: Combining Usage-based Approaches with Language Change Analysis: A Case Study of Turkish in the Netherlands

Plaats: Meertens Instituut, Symposiumzaal
Tijd: 14.00 uur

Combining Usage-based Approaches with Language Change Analysis: A Case Study of Turkish in the Netherlands

A. Seza DoÄŸruöz, Tilburg University

One of the largest minority groups in the Netherlands is the Turkish community (approx. 2% of the Dutch population). Due to contact with Dutch since the 1960s, Turkish spoken in the Netherlands (NL-Turkish) is changing in comparison to Turkish spoken in Turkey (TR-Turkish). One of the indicators of change is the fact that NL-Turkish is perceived as “different” by TR-Turkish speakers. On-going changes in a contact variety are usually reported based on the individual judgments of the researcher. Instead of relying on my own native speaker judgments, I collected spoken corpora of both NL-Turkish and TR-Turkish. Through these corpora, I was able to analyze the changing and stable linguistic aspects in both varieties simultaneously.
Comparative analyses of syntax (e.g. word order and subject pronoun use) in NL-Turkish and TR-Turkish corpora did not reveal any significant differences between the two varieties. However, a bottom-up analysis of the NL-Turkish corpora revealed several literally translated Dutch multi-word units which sound different to TR-Turkish speakers. When languages are in contact, they (probably) influence each other through these multi-word units which differ in terms of size and schematicity. This analysis is in line with the usage-based approaches to language which assume that language is a collection specific multi-word units (i.e. constructions) and syntax does not exist on its own.
During my presentation, I will a) explain how to analyze the on-going linguistic changes through usage-based approaches to language, b) describe a procedure about identifying and classifying the changing multi-word units c) discuss the “do’s” and “don’ts” in collecting and using spoken corpora for linguistic analysis.