Negative Alternations in Bilingual Speech: The Case of Chipilo, Mexico

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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics
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Tararova, Olga

In the present study, I investigate the phenomenon of negative doubling (e.g., no fui no ‘I did not go NEG’) in Mexico, in the town of Chipilo, a bilingual Italo-Mexican community, which has preserved Veneto, a minority language for over 100 years. It is predicted that Italo-Mexican bilinguals have transferred a second final no from Veneto, a language, which exhibits negative doubling, into Spanish, a language that does not allow a repetition of the same negator prosodically in the sentence final position. This study analysed the data of 117 participants (Chipilenos, mixed groups, and monolingual speakers) classified into two sex groups, two age groups (18-34, 35-70), and four ethnicity groups in order to examine the frequency of negative doubling in Spanish and investigate which social and linguistic factors favour the distribution of the phenomenon. All the participants performed a combination of semi-spontaneous speech, as well as two controlled tasks (a Preference forced choice and a Sentence Repetition Tasks). The results suggest a transfer effect from Veneto into Spanish in the bilingual speech only, specifically in the discourse of males, participants with two Chipileno parents and participants with a Chipileno father. The results from one of the controlled tasks showed that second negative mention, as a linguistic factor had a strong effect on elicitation of negation doubling, specifically among young speakers. Overall, by combining both traditional sociolinguistic interview methods with controlled tasks, I was able to better elicit negation and understand the situation of languages in contact.

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