Christian Bentz at Langwidge Sandwidge

Posted on September 20, 2014 by


On 30th September, Christian Bentz, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge, will be presenting at the Langwidge Sandwidge on Measuring and modeling the (potential) impact of non-native speakers on morphological productivity. The talk will be at 1pm in Samuel Alexander A214. Here’s the abstract:

Explaining the diversity of phonological, lexical, morphological and syntactic encoding strategies across languages of the world is a central aim of variationist sociolinguistics. My account will focus on the lexical and morphological level of encoding. Recent qualitative and quantitative studies suggest that the morphological productivity of languages might be partly driven by the presence of significant proportions of non-native speakers. Since non-native speakers seem to have difficulties with learning the panoply of word forms that native speakers master with relative ease, they might drive the reduction of such word forms over several generations of language learning and usage. This is seen as an instance of language as a complex adaptive system shaped by the learning constraints of speaker populations. I will outline some of the methods used to measure and model this (potential) impact of non-native speakers on a) case marking systems and and b) on morphological productivity and lexical diversity more generally.

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