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Centres and Peripheries in Celtic Linguistics


Edited By Maria Bloch-Trojnar and Mark Ó Fionnáin

This book examines various aspects of Celtic linguistics from a general and more specific point of view. Amongst the topics investigated is the system of Irish initial mutations from both a linguistic universal and contrastive perspective. Other contributions analyse and cast new light on deverbal adjectives and assertive and declarative speech acts in Irish, communication and language transmission, change and policy, Breton and Sorbian grammars, as well as other issues of sociolinguistics in Irish, Welsh and Breton.

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Children Prefer Natives: A Study on the Transmission of a Heritage Language – Standard Breton, Neo-Breton and Traditional Dialects (Mélanie Jouitteau)


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Mélanie Jouitteau

Children Prefer Natives: A Study on the Transmission of a Heritage Language – Standard Breton, Neo-Breton and Traditional Dialects1

Abstract: I present a linguistic effect by which heritage language speakers over-represent traditional input in their acquisition system. Data from native young adults that are children of the missing link generation is presented. Presence of dialectal features suggest that they disqualify the input of insecure L2 speakers of Standard Breton and prefer the input of linguistically secure speakers in the making of their own generational variety. Given the sociolinguistics of Breton, this effect goes both against statistical and sociological models of acquisition because speakers disregard features of Standard Breton, which is the socially valorised variety accessible to them and valued by school and media. I detail three case paradigms where grammars of native young adults present features of traditional dialects for which they had very rare input, together with consistent counter-influence in both Standard Breton or French. The chapter provides baselines for the investigation of the syntax of the generation of Breton speakers who received full Breton schooling in immersion schools. It shows that influence from both Standard Breton and French is not incompatible with native-like properties in their Breton syntax.

Keywords: Heritage language, Acquisition, Neo-Breton, Bilingualism, Diglossia

1 Introduction

This chapter is part of a wider project aiming to propose a syntactic portrait of the different varieties of Breton spoken at the beginning of the...

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