Crosslinguistic structural priming as a mechanism of contact-induced language change: Evidence from Papiamento-Dutch bilinguals in Aruba and the Netherlands
- Linguistic Society of America
- Volume 94, Number 4, December 2018
- pp. 902-930
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- Additional Information
Studies on language contact suggest that cross-language interactions in individual language use may lead to contact-induced change at the community level. We propose that the phenomenon of crosslinguistic structural priming may well drive this process. We investigated this by focusing on dative sentence production by Papiamento speakers in Aruba and in the Netherlands. In experiment 1, Papiamento speakers in Aruba and in the Netherlands described dative events. The speakers in the Netherlands produced more Dutch-like structures than the speakers in Aruba, especially younger speakers. In experiment 2, speakers from the same populations heard a Dutch prime sentence before describing a dative event in Papiamento. Syntactic choices were influenced by the Dutch prime sentences, and, again, especially younger speakers in the Netherlands produced more Dutch-like dative structures. This combination of results suggests that Papiamento syntactic preferences in the Netherlands are changing as a function of contact with Dutch, and that crosslinguistic structural priming is a likely mechanism underlying this change.