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Academic Paper


Title: Constraints on substrate transfer revisited
Author: Jeff Siegel
Institution: University of New England
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: In an article in this journal, Bao (2005) proposes a constraint on functional transfer that he claims accounts for features of colloquial Singapore English (and other language contact varieties) better than the congruence constraint proposed by Siegel (1999) and subsequently developed in later works (e.g. Siegel 2003, 2008a). More specifically, Bao argues that the requirement of surface syntactic similarity for transfer is too strong. His analysis uses Mandarin to exemplify the Chinese substrate languages that were the source of transfer, following the view that there is a universal Chinese grammar (Chao 1968: 13). However, the present article shows that Bao's claim is unjustified because the actual source of transfer was a variety of Chinese that differs significantly from Mandarin in the area of grammar he examined.

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This article appears IN Journal of Linguistics Vol. 48, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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