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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: March 2020

Chapter 33 - Heritage Germanic Languages in North America

from Part V - Language Contact and Nonstandard Varieties


The empirical focus of this chapter are heritage Germanic languages spoken in North America. Heritage languages are the first language of individuals who speak a language at home that is not the dominant language of the larger society (pace Rothman 2009). Unlike minority languages (see Louden, Chapter 34), speakers of heritage varieties of Germanic are not tied to a particular religious group. Additionally, the majority of these heritage speakers speak moribund vernaculars. Here we review the general properties of the phonology, morphology and morpho-syntax, syntax, and semantics and pragmatics of heritage German and Norwegian. We discuss the impact that these empirical findings have on theoretical analyses, include language attrition and the potential of incomplete mastery of elements of the heritage language.

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