Chapter published in:Keeping in Touch: Emigrant letters across the English-speaking world
Edited by Raymond Hickey
[Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics 10] 2019
Wisconsin immigrant letters
German transfer to Wisconsin English
This chapter outlines German transfer to Wisconsin English based on the analysis of ego-documents written by German immigrants and their descendants to Wisconsin in the nineteenth century. The analysis of 111 letters from four generations of a German-American family revealed 450 instances indicative of German transfer to English. Using these documents, we show how native German speakers learning English transferred German-like features and structures (phonological, syntactic, and semantic transfer) to their English and how some of these transfers remain in the regional English today. This is supplemented by an additional 101 letters from another family and their acquaintances in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. These additional documents exhibit similar patterns of transfer, indicating that the transfer is not due to regional differences, but likely due to other factors such as generational language shift.
Keywords: Wisconsin German, Wisconsin English, substratal transfer, phonological transfer, syntactic transfer, lexical transfer
Published online: 28 November 2019
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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 27 april 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.