ADIM project description

Work packages detailed description

ADIM is divided into three different Research Work Packages (RWP) which ensures that the issue under investigation is consistently approached in different angles. Each RWP has specific Postdocs assigned to it, but consultation and collaboration across the work packages is also crucial for a thorough investigation. 

The work packages together include all levels of language perception, comprehension and production starting from the phonological level, to the morphological level, and onto syntax-semantics. By using the same (type of) participants across the studies in the three language domains, we aim to get a thorough overview of the interaction of the languages in a multilingual speaker. 

WP1 – PI: Magdalena Wrembel; Postdocs: Hanna Kedzierska, Krzysztof Hwaszcz, Kamil Malarski (AMU)

The first research package aims to describe how the phonological subsystem(s) is restructured in multilingual learners. The phonological differences between the three languages of interest offer fertile ground for the investigation of multilingualism as the three languages pattern differently for their phonological repertoires. Norwegian has a very large vowel repertoire (18 monophthongal vowels), English has a moderately large vowel repertoire (12), while Polish has a rather small vowel repertoire (6). The emphasis will be on rounded and unrounded vowel contrasts which are absent in Polish, and on examining the relative weight of height vs. backness and rounding distinctions on the accuracy rate in discrimination.

The package will investigate the phonological system of the multilinguals both in terms of perception and production. The former part of the project focuses on comparing the multilingual learners in naturalistic and instructed settings in their perception of selected native English and Norwegian vowels. The methodology includes an ABX discrimination task and an assimilation test with goodness ranking. The production tasks will include several methods aiming to separate the three target languages and individual levels of formality within the speaker. The methods include: a semi-structured long-form interview, a collaborative game/map task, a picture description task (semi-spontaneous speech), a sentence reading task, and a word reading task. 

The participants will include Polish native speakers with English as a second language and Norwegian as a third language, residing either in Norway (naturalistic setting) or enrolled in the university level course of Norwegian in Poland (instruction setting). 

WP2 – PI: Marit Westergaard; Postdocs: Chloe Castle and Isabel Nadine Jensen (UiT)

The focus of the second research package is on morphosyntax. There is a constellation of morphosyntactic differences that can be investigated within multilingual speakers of these languages. Several of these morphosyntactic differences will be investigated in separate branches of the project.

The first branch of the project will focus on case marking and word order. Polish has case, while English and Norwegian do not. Polish also has a more flexible word order. The leading methodology will be teaching the participants an artificial language with the presence/absence of selected morphological features. Based on the morphological similarity of the artificial language to the language(s) spoken by our multilingual participants, we will be able to gain insight into the patterns of cross-linguistic influence. Given the complex micro-variation found across the three languages in this construction we predict that this will be a particularly promising area to consider for L3 acquisition in our selected populations. The participants included in this research will be native speakers of Norwegian, native speakers of Polish, and simultaneous Polish-Norwegian bilinguals learning the artificial language.

The second branch of the project is undertaken in collaboration with a researcher in Work Package 1, Kamil Malarski. This will investigate the use of dialect by Polish-Norwegians living in Norway, and how this may be affected by sociolinguistic variables. The Work Package 1 component of this will focus on phonology, whereas the component for Work Package 2 will focus on morphosyntax. Some of the features investigated include pre-proprial article, V2 word order in wh-interrogatives, and gender. Participants included in this branch of the project include Polish-Norwegian speakers living in Norway, and native speakers of Norwegian dialects, specifically the Tromsø dialect, Stavanger dialect, Christiansen dialect and Trondheim dialect.

WP3 – PI: Marit Westergaard; Postdoc: Marta Velnić (NTNU)

The third research package includes a semantic property that cuts across different parts of the grammar and also interacts with other meanings. This is genericity, interacting in interesting ways with definiteness and specificity and their morphosyntactic expressions across languages.

Genericity is a basic meaning that all languages have to express, but there is no specific morpheme denoting genericity. Generic interpretations are determined by one or more covert elements, which are never realized by an unambiguous overt morpho-syntactic form. Very likely these mismatches translate into processing issues as well, but they have not been analyzed so far. The combination of these three languages allows us to tap into the processing details as Norwegian and English share a lot of the similarities on how genericity is expressed (both of these languages have an article system, which Polish does not), but Norwegian shows similarities with Polish as it allows bare singular nouns much more freely than English.

The bulk of experimental studies to date have been done on English and a handful of Romance languages, so adding Norwegian and Polish would be beneficial for theory. In sum, within the broad linguistic area of genericity, variation within a language and cross-linguistic variation need to be addressed consistently. We will use acceptability judgment tasks and Truth Value Judgment Tasks, incorporating all the meanings that are expressed in the same way, and those that are expressed differently, in the three languages under consideration. Crucially, we also plan to test the participant’s production in generic and non-generic contexts.

Our target participants will be native speakers of Polish with English as a second language and Norwegian as a third language, residing both in Norway (naturalistic setting) and in Poland- enrolled in a Norwegian University class (instructed setting). These participants will be tested both in their English L2 and Norwegian L3. We also plan to also test Polish-Norwegian bilingual adolescents in their L3 English.  Additionally, as genericity in Norwegian is not thoroughly investigated, thus the research should add to the theoretical approaches overall, as we will be including Norwegian native speakers as a control group. 

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