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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

This paper examines the impact that non-native speakers have had on the structure of Picard, a Gallo-Romance language spoken in northern France and southern Belgium. Focusing on neuter subjects, a construction that is characterized by a more complex system than the equivalent form in French (the other language spoken by all Picard speakers), we compare the systems used by native and non-native speakers. Given that all three forms are used by all speakers in our corpus, a variationist approach is adopted to determine whether the same syntactic and phonological factors govern the distribution of the three forms in the two types of speakers. This analysis confirms that non-native speakers have acquired many of the constraints that characterize the grammar of traditional speakers but shows that their dominant language, French, has weakened the effect of the syntactic factors.

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