American Norwegian Sound Systems and Language Contact
This project examines language contact and language maintenance among American Norwegian-English bilinguals. By drawing on both quantitative and qualitative methods, I focus on bilingual vowel patterns and the extent to which Norwegian and English influence each others' phonological systems in ways that differ from both monolingual English and European Norwegian. The results from this action contributes to work on the nature of bilingual grammars and the extent to which language structures in one language remain intact under intense contact with another. Its broad aims are to advance our understanding of the human capacity for language. In this regard, American Norwegian is an optimal language example because nearly all of its speakers are elderly individuals who shifted to English as children. Their speech patterns offer crucial evidence for human language processes by demonstrating how an individual's linguistic faculty can and does change over the lifespan.