Edited by Bernhard Brehmer and Jeanine Treffers-Daller
[Studies in Bilingualism 59] 2020
► pp. 198–228
High sensitivity to conceptual cues in Turkish heritage speakers with dominant German L2
Comparing semantics–morphosyntax and pragmatics–morphosyntax interfaces
This study investigates semantics-morphosyntax and pragmatics-morphosyntax interfaces in separate experiments, yet examining the same structure, namely the optional verb number marking in Turkish. We tested a group of bilingual heritage speakers of Turkish, whose dominant language is German. Optional use of the overt verb number marking in Turkish interacts with semantic and pragmatic properties of the plural subject of the sentence. The interaction of optional verb number marking with these properties is tested separately in two different experiments, using the Magnitude Estimation technique. The results showed that the bilingual speakers treat both interface types differently from the monolingual speakers. More precisely, the bilingual speakers make finer distinctions regarding the semantic and pragmatic notions that were put into test. This sensitivity results in a semantically and pragmatically constrained pattern, which is in line with both language-specific descriptions and cross-linguistic tendencies. This outcome is taken to suggest that the nonconvergence in the bilingual data stems from a high sensitivity to the semantic and pragmatic properties that constrain the use of the morphosyntactic structure under investigation. The research results are further evaluated from a processing based linguistic framework, namely Modular Online Growth and Use of Language (MOGUL).