Linguistic innovations in the immigration context as initial stages of a partially restructured variety: Evidence from SE constructions in the Portuguese of the East Timorese diaspora in Portugal
Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics
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Portuguese became one of the official languages of independent East Timor after ca. 25 years of Indonesian rule; this prevented the partial restructuring of an East Timorese variety of Portuguese in a similar way to that undergone by other Portuguese varieties (e.g., Mozambican, Angolan and Vernacular Brazilian Portuguese). We will discuss the idiosyncratic use of SE constructions in the speech of literate Portuguese-speaking East Timorese immigrants in Portugal, who will go back to East Timor and will be likely to lead language change. Given this particular link between East Timor and its diasporas, linguistic innovations in the immigration context can shed light on the initial stages of a future partially-restructured East Timorese Portuguese variety. SE constructions are highly polysemous and marked and the data show that innovative patterns are emerging, comprising deletion and generalization of the clitic as well as creative uses of these constructions, mainly observed in impersonal and spontaneous situation types. These innovative patterns can be attributed to L2 acquisition and to the interference of Tetum Dili.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the British Academy (Small Grant SG100616) for the data collection, which took place from June 2010 to March 2011.
Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 1 - 33