Trade-Offs and Causal Relationships Between Cues to Grammatical Subject and Object in English and Creole Languages.

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Languages have different cues to express “who did what to whom” (case marking, word order, animacy, agreement), which are usually correlated (Sinnemäki, 2010; Levshina, 2021) and are influenced by processing factors. For example, Hawkins (2018) explains that richer, morphologically complex words allow for quicker and error-free online processing. However, it is longer than in more analytical languages like English. As claimed by Levshina (2021), language contact also plays an important role in the distribution of these cues. However, actual data from contact languages have not been studied in that regard. The present thesis aims to address this gap. The study investigates the cues to subject and object in two creoles: Tok Pisin and Bislama, and English as their lexifier. Data was extracted from the ANNIS and BNC corpora. The predictions are that the cues in creoles will be similar to the English one, because grammars of creoles investigated in this paper evolved from inter alia English grammar. Hence, the latter had major influence on the former. Second predication is that the analysis of creoles will replicate results of Levshina (2021) study–a strong negative correlation between word order and case marking. Moreover, the study is expected to give evidence for the hypothesis that language contact can result in semantic ‘looseness’ (Hawkins, 1986).
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