Crosslinguistic influence from substandard varieties
The overarching goal of this project is to investigate how knowledge of a substandard variety of the first language (e.g., a local dialect) affects the learning of another language.
The narrower focus is on the intuitions that speakers of Dutch have about the grammatical gender of German nouns, particularly of nouns that have a formally similar counterpart in Dutch (i.e., cognates). Whereas German distinguishes between three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter), the masculine and feminine categories have merged in present-day Standard Dutch such that it only distinguishes between common and neuter gender. Many substandard varieties of Belgian Dutch, however, have retained the masculine/feminine distinction so that their grammatical gender systems are more similar to German than the Standard Dutch system is.
This project investigates if and when speakers of a substandard Dutch variety that distinguishes between three grammatical genders draw on their knowledge of this variety when assigning a grammatical gender to German nouns with Dutch cognates.