Edited by Elma Blom, Leonie Cornips and Jeannette Schaeffer
[Studies in Bilingualism 52] 2017
► pp. 25–48
Extended use of demonstrative pronouns in two generations of Mandarin Chinese speakers in the Netherlands
Evidence of convergence?
This study investigated the use of demonstratives in encoding already mentioned referents in two generations of Mandarin Chinese speakers in the Netherlands. Data from twelve families was compared to baseline data from eight native controls in China. Previous literature suggests that languages without dedicated morphology to encode definiteness might develop such morphemes in contact with a language with articles (cf. Backus, Doğruöz, & Heine, 2011). Demonstrative pronouns may be reinterpreted as articles and this process could result in an increase in demonstrative use. We accordingly expected to find such an increase in Mandarin Chinese spoken in the Netherlands and found confirmation for this in both generations of speakers. A preference for the distal demonstrative was observed only in the second generation.
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