The project investigates adaptation and change in individual language-contact situations, i.e. bilingual language processing. It tests whether psycholinguistic adaptation to changes in input may be the seedbed of historical change, as individual adaptation translates into different output, which, in turn, provides changes in input to speakers and language learners. Specifically, the project examines (a) if bilinguals adapt in the same way as native speakers and (b) if adaptation to the L2 spills over into the L1. This project studies adaptation in the context of the dative alternation, examining adaptation to frequency biases in the input and grammatical constraints on adaptation in different groups of monolingual and bilingual native speakers as well as late L2 learners of English. It uses adult native speakers of English (WP1-3) and adult L1 German early bilingual (WP4) as well as late L2 learners of English (WP1-3) as participants. In conjunction, these WPs allow us to answer the main research question of the project:
(How) does grammatical adaptation constitute a psycholinguistic process underlying historical language change?
Can differences in grammatical adaptation between types of bilingual and monolingual speakers account for developmental differences in historical language change?
In answering the first RQ, this project addresses key feature 1 of the RU, and RQ 2 addresses key feature 2. These questions will be examined with respect to different factors modulating the use of argument structure information (key feature 4).
Project entry in the DFG GEPRIS database