Do multilingual speakers have one single underlying idiolect or multiple idiolects bound to specific languages?

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This thesis sets out to explore the notion of idiolect. Idiolect, the individual language habits and choices of one person, is an established notion within the field of language and other social studies. There is, however, still a debate on the importance and the role of idiolect. This thesis contributes to that debate by trying to establish the foundation of idiolect, asking the question: do multilingual speakers have a single underlying idiolect or multiple idiolects bound to their specific languages? This thesis tries to answer that question by cross-linguistically analysing English and Dutch data from five multilingual speakers. The analysis is based on the authorship analysis markers suggested by Chaski (2012) and looks for markedness and transfer. Cross-linguistic markedness and bi-directional transfer in both lexical and structural elements would indicate a single cross-linguistic idiolect. The results suggests that, while there is strong evidence in favour of a single underlying idiolect, the majority of the outcomes are ambiguous, which calls for more research in larger, more comprehensive datasets consisting of more and other languages.
Faculteit der Letteren