In order to elucidate the structure of heritage grammars, this paper presents an analysis of word order variation in Moundridge Schweitzer German (MSG), a moribund heritage variety of German spoken in South Central Kansas. Based on elicited production data and an acceptability judgment task, we show that the current state of the MSG grammar maintains the asymmetric German verb-second (V2) and verb-final (V-final) word-ordering closely tied to specific pragmatic information associated with clause-types and complementizers. Extensive contact with English does not lead to adoption of English word order; rather, it occasions restructuring of German word order within the constraints of German syntax. We model these findings in a syntactic analysis following recent proposals by Putnam & Sánchez (2013) and Polinsky (2011) that challenge the notion of 'incomplete acquisition' as a way to conceptualize heritage language acquisition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language