LingLang Lunch (11/1/2017): Laura Janda (Universitetet i Tromsø)

Laura Janda’s research focuses on Russian aspect and other Slavic grammatical categories, as well as the development of language pedagogy. For more information, her website is here.

What happens to a language under pressure: discriminatory language policy and language change in North Saami

North Saami, a Finno-Ugric language spoken by 20,000 people in the extreme north of Norway, Sweden and Finland, is undergoing a language change in the use of its possessive constructions. We find evidence that a number of factors converge, creating a complex situation that advantages one possessive construction over the other. Given the timing of the change, it seems likely that the replacement of NPx by ReflN was sparked in part by educational policies that removed children from their L1 environment during their school years, creating a sociolinguistic situation in which morphological complexity was disadvantaged. This study thus sheds light on what may be a concrete linguistic effect catalyzed by discriminatory policy.

(Sponsored by Slavic Studies, CLPS, and the C.V. Starr Foundation Lectureship fund through the Dean of the Faculty’s Office.)