5dez 2022
06:30 UTC

Shifting clause-type distributions in Turkishes

Clause-combining mechanisms structure narrations and make them comprehensible to other interlocutors. More precisely, languages usually have a dominant clause-combining strategy, either hypotaxis via subordination or parataxis via coordination. Within Turkishes, monolinguals and heritage speakers seem to prefer different clause-combining strategies, with hypotaxis for monolingual Turkishes and parataxis for heritage Turkishes. We try to understand the driving factors behind changing clause-combining strategies in Turkishes. Generally, these changes are attributed to factors which can be language-internal (e.g., grammar) or language-external (e.g., language contact). We test if language-internal factors, specifically sociolinguistic variables and grammatical aspect, affect the use of parataxis. One way to achieve parataxis in Turkishes is by means of temporal connectors like o anda ‘that moment’ and ondan sonra ‘that after’. Therefore, we investigate the use of temporal connectors in a mid-sized systematic corpus of semi-naturalistic narrations of Turkish in Germany, the U.S., and Turkey; the RUEG corpus. Our results show that the (heritage) variety of Turkish (USA vs. Germany), age (adolescents vs. adults), register (informal vs. formal), and mode (spoken vs. written) all have a significant effect on the use of temporal connectors. We conclude that heritage speakers in Germany and the USA use temporal connectors more frequently, because they mostly communicate in informal, spoken settings, compared to monolinguals who use Turkish in written, formal settings too. These findings support the claim that the preference for parataxis in heritage Turkish is based on language-internal dynamics in Turkish, and not on language contact with German and English. Our study backs up other studies which observed shifts in clause-type preference in other heritage languages, and provides insights into the dynamics of and behind language change.