Roberta D’Alessandro works at the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics as professor of Syntax and Language Variation and PI of the ERC CoG project Microcontact. She is series editor of the Language Science Press OA series Open Generative Syntax and editor-in-chief of the Brill Series Grammars and Sketches of the Romance Languages . She is also editor-in-chief of the new Isogloss. Open Journal of Romance Linguistics and the president of Going Romance. Her main interests are syntactic variation, syntactic change in contact, heritage language syntax, (Italo-)Romance microvariation, and the syntax-phonology interface.
Microcontact: Language Change In Contact from a Microvariational Perspective
Generalizations on language change in contact are often formulated along the lines of “everything goes”. This talk will try to make some order in the chaos of contact phenomena and provide some generalization based on the comparison between several different kinds of contact, above all heritage languages and creoles. A new dimension for the study of language contact is proposed: microcontact, which tackles languages and varieties in contact that present minimal structural and typological differences. An overview will be provided of the main observations and generalizations regarding microcontact between Italo-Romance varieties and the Romance languages spoken in Brazil, Argentina, Canada.