Verb-third-position in Turkish-German Language Contact: Information-structured Linearization of singular and multilingual Speakers


DEUTSCHE SPRACHE, vol.45, no.1, pp.31-52, 2017 (Journal Indexed in AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 45 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Title of Journal : DEUTSCHE SPRACHE
  • Page Numbers: pp.31-52


In present-day German we find new word order options, particularly well-known from Turkish-German bilingual speakers in the contexts of new urban dialects, which allow violations of the canonical verb-second position in independent declarative clauses. In these cases, two positions are occupied in the forefield in front of the finite verb, usually by an adverbial and a subject, which identify, at the level of information structure, frame-setter and topic, respectively. Our study investigates the influence of verbal versus language -independent information-structural preferences for this linearisation, comparing Turkish-German multilingual speakers who have grown up in Germany with monolingual German and Turkish speakers. For tasks, in which grammatical restrictions were largely minimised, the results indicate a general tendency to place verbs in a position after the frame-setter and the topic; in addition, we found language-specific influences that distinguish Turkish-German and monolingual German speakers from monolingual Turkish ones. We interpret this as evidence for an information-structural motivation for verb-third, and for a clear dominance of German for Turkish-German speakers in Germany.