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Dóra Vuk, M.A.

Dóra Vuk, M.A.

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Doctoral Project

Gender and Number Agreement in Croatian Heritage Speakers in Austria and Hungary  completed

In my dissertation, I investigate gender and number agreement in four groups of heritage speakers of Croatian. For purposes of the current study, I define heritage speakers as individuals who grew up outside of Croatia, but who were brought up in households where Croatian was spoken; the majority language (mostly the official language of the country of living) became the speakers’ primary or dominant language (L1), and Croatian being their second language (L2).
In this study, the four groups of speakers are made up of two types of heritage speakers, i.e. members of the autochthonous Croatian ethnic minority and second-generation Croatian immigrants. Both types of heritage speakers are examined in two different language settings: in German-dominant Austria and Hungarian-dominant Hungary. The study aims at comparing those four groups with each other and with a control group of Croatian native speakers, regarding their command of gender and number agreement. The broad research
questions are as follows: (1) Do the four groups of heritage speakers significantly differ from the native speakers? (2) What kind of difference do the four groups of heritage speakers show in terms of their command of gender and number agreement? (3) Is there a significant difference between the German-dominant and Hungarian-dominant heritage speakers? In other words: Is the dominant language shaping the way, in which the agreement system of heritage Croatian is changing? (4) Is there a significant difference between heritage speakers, who stem from a minority group and those, who come from an immigrant community? Does the speakers’ (minority or immigrant) status have an effect on their command of gender and number agreement in their heritage language? (5) Which of the two factors, the dominant language or the speakers’ status, plays a more prominent role in the change of the agreement system of the Croatian heritage language?
To be able to give a complex answer to the research questions, different types of data will be collected through a triangulation of methods. The data collection is to be conducted in two phases.
In the first phase, heritage speakers’ general command of gender and number agreement will be tested in a written production task. The goal of the first phase is to identify the most vulnerable type of agreement, which will be investigated further in the second phase of the study. The second phase concentrates on one type of agreement, i.e. on the subject-predicate agreement with conjoined noun phrases*. The heritage speakers’ command of agreement patterns of conjoined noun phrases is tested with acceptability judgements, and the results of the four groups are analyzed with statistical methods.

(* added in 2017)

Please also see an overview of her project in the Graduate School's Newsletter Nr. 6, Summer Semester 2016.

Curriculum Vitae

Born in Nagykanizsa (Hungary). 2007-2010 – Croatian Studies at the University of Zagreb (B.A.). 2010 – 2013 – Croatian and German Studies at the University of Zagreb (M.A.). 2011/2012 WS – Foreign Study (Slavic and German Studies) at the Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg. Since 11/2014 – Doctorate at the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies (supervisor: Prof. Dr. Björn Hansen).

Positions, Assignments and Memberships

Presentations (selected)

2018

"Subject-Verb Agreement in the Croatian Heritage Language in Austria and Hungary". (Jahrestagung der Graduiertenschule für Ost- und Südosteuropastudien "Studying East and Southeast Europe as Area Studies: Paradigms - Themes - Methods for the 21st Century", München, 25.-27.10.2018)

2016

„Gender and Number in the Agreement System of Croatian Heritage Language“ (ASEEES 48th Annual Convention, Washington, DC, 17.-20. 11. 2016)

2014

Together with Dr. sc. Zrinka Jelaska: "Family Inheritance – Language Identity of Croatian Heritage Speakers" (Conference "Croatian as a Second and Foreign Language – 5th HIDIS", University of Zagreb, Croatia, 18.-20.12.2014).

"The Influence of the Social Status on Heritage Language Aquisition" (12th International Scientific Conference - Croatian Studies, University of Pécs, Ungarn, 17.-18.10.2014).

Together with Dr. sc. Zrinka Jelaska: "Heritage Speakers and Their Croatian Language – The Influence of Language History on Written Language Production" (Conference "Multidisciplinary approaches to bilingualism", University of Zagreb, Croatia, 25.-27.04.2014).

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