This paper focuses on structural changes in Danish as an immigrant minority language in North America, i.e., language change under the conditions of language contact. Two corpora, the Corpus of North American Danish and the LANCHART corpus (both University of Copenhagen), provide data for a contrastive analysis of auxiliary choice in three verb phrases with transitional biographical verbs (født 'born', konfirmeret 'confirmed' and gift 'married') in North American Danish and modern spoken Danish. Taking a Construction Grammar approach, the author argues that the changes in auxiliary choice, namely the use of var 'was' instead of blev 'became', are the result of cross-linguistic analogy building by the bilingual speakers of North American Danish. The analogical leveling of North American Danish with English leads to constructional change in form and function as well as in frequency and prototype.
Selected Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Immigrant Languages in the Americas (WILA 8)
edited by Jan Heegård Petersen and Karoline Kühl
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