University of Hong Kong > School of Humanities

Grammaticalization in multilingual settings: From Cantonese-English bilingual children to Southeast Asian
- Szeto Pui Yiu, Department of Linguistics, The University of Hong Kong

Thu 13 Apr 2017, 4:00 pm
Room 4.04, 4/F Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Grammaticalization in multilingual settings: From Cantonese-English bilingual children to Southeast Asian

In this talk, I discuss the close parallels between the contact phenomena in Cantonese-English bilingual children and Southeast Asian creoles, especially in the domain of perfective aspect marking. ‘Already’ is a cross-linguistically common lexical source of perfective aspect markers given its conceptual link with the sense of perfectivity. In contact scenarios involving an European lexifier and Southeast Asian substrates, the development of ‘already’ into a perfective marker is further triggered by the incompatibility between the verbal morphology of the former and the isolating typology of the latter. Adopting an evolutionary approach to language transmission and creole genesis, I discuss why grammaticalization in the Cantonese-English bilingual children does not seem to involve coevolution of form and meaning, how the transient grammaticalization phenomena in the bilingual children can be compared to decreolization, and how the study of bilingual acquisition can contribute to contact linguistics.
All are welcome.


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