Projekt P7 (RUEG)

Intonation and word order in majority English and heritage Russian across speaker populations

Beginning 2018
Funding Period 3 Years
Principal investigator Prof. Dr. Sabine Zerbian

Universität Stuttgart (Email
Project team

Mrs.Yulia Zuban, PhD student

Universität Stuttgart (Email)

Student assistants

Yuliia Ivashchyk

Marlene Boettcher

External cooperation partner

Dr. Tamara Rathcke

University of Kent


The project is part of the Research Unit "Emerging Grammars in Language Contact Situations:
A Comparative Approach" (RUEG):
The project investigates non-canonical intonation in its relation to syntax (i.e., word order) and
information structure (i.e., focus, givenness), focusing on the language contact involving
Russian as heritage language and English as majority language. The project looks at the two
languages of heritage speakers and compares them to monolingual native speakers, adopting a
new approach in research on intonation in heritage languages. Moreover, it investigates
intonation in formal vs. informal speech because we know from research on monolingual
speech that there are phonetic correlates of register, which need to be differentiated from
grammatical aspects of intonation. Finally, intonation will be investigated for different age
groups, thereby addressing the question of how stable intonational differences are over (part of)
the life span.
In line with RUEG’s overarching approach, the project investigates non-canonical prosody in
three Joint Ventures (short: “JV”): addressing the systematicity of new intonational patterns
(JVI: “Language Change Hypothesis”), their occurrence at internal (syntax) versus external
(information structure) interfaces (JVII: “Interface Hypothesis”), and, by including further
comparisons beyond English-Russian contact, their contact-linguistic source in transfer or
general contact-induced change versus language-internal dynamics or general developments
(JVIII: “Internal Dynamics Hypothesis”).


RBB Kulturradio (19.12.2017) „Grammatik im Wandel – Wie Zweisprachigkeit Sprachen ändert“ MP3-File