Contact-induced change or dialectal relic in heritage American-Danish? The use of the indefinite article in copula clauses with person-identifying subject predicate

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The article analyses the use and non-use of the indefinite article in the identifying copula construction with bare noun as the subject predicate in American Danish. With a point of departure in the semantics associated with use and non-use of the indefinite article in Standard Danish and Danish dialects the article shows that there is a clear indication of English influence with nouns denoting profession and social status, whereas with nouns that denote an inhabitant it cannot be decided whether American Danish is influenced by English or shows a dialect relic. The article shows that there is a tendency for Danish immigrants in North America born in Denmark to use the Danish pattern and for descendants of immigrants to use the English pattern but also that the pressure from English has different outcomes related to the individual speaker’s inclination for using the English vs. the Danish pattern.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNorsk Lingvistisk Tidsskrift
Pages (from-to)41-68
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 168784496