Mismatches at the syntax-semantics interface: The case of non-finite complementation in American Norwegian
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionNordic Journal of Linguistics. 2021. 10.1017/S033258652100010X
Non-finite complementation strategies found in American Norwegian (AmNo) (made available by the Corpus of American Nordic Speech (CANS)) reveal unique and diverging patterns when compared to both standard and dialectal Norwegian and English. We argue in this paper that the majority of these divergent structures are the result of overextension (Rinke & Flores, 2014; Rinke et al., 2018; Putnam & Hoffman, 2021; Kupisch, 2014), where heritage language speakers produce structures that differ from both grammars in an attempt to generate forms that are distinct from the more dominant language. Our treatment of these nuanced structures in AmNo shows that this heritage grammar significantly restricts bare (or naked) TPs (Situations) serving as non-finite complements. To avoid bare TP-complements, AmNo has developed two distinct, yet related strategies, (1) reducing non-finite complements to vPs (Events), or (2) incorporating an additional element, a preposition, to ensure that the non-finite complement functions as the object of a preposition. We analyze this latter strategy as an instance of the emergence of structural salience (Polinsky, 2018) in the syntax of AmNo and suggest that this variation is best understood as a syntax–semantics interface phenomenon.