In mainstream 20th-century linguistic and grammar theory, multilingualism is usually seen as an exceptional case as opposed to monolingualism, which is seen as the prototypical case. Consequently, language systems are described as monolingual, largely variation-free, and static. On the other hand, contact linguistic research shows that, on a historic and global scale, multilingualism is clearly the rule rather than an exception. While language contact is the normal state of languages, speaker groups, and individual speakers, monolingualism in a narrow sense (i.e. monolectalism) does not even exist: all speakers are multilingual or at least multilectal to some extent, meaning that they use several different (standard) languages or various varieties/dialects productively or receptively to some degree – in other words, speakers utilize a range of linguistic resources in a way that is communicatively adequate in.
Based on these insights, this project aims at developing a socio-cognitively realistic construction grammar approach to multlilingualism and language contact (Diasystematic Construction Grammar, DCxG). DCxG is normal usage-based construction grammar as applied to language contact situations and works without any additional assumptions. In particular, DCxG assumes that (a) linguistic knowledge is cognitively stored and processed as constructions, (b) constructions are pairings of form and function, and (c) linguistic knowledge is organized through domain-general cognitive processes.
DCxG sees grammars as being community-specific, not language-specific. In DCxG, different languages are not represented by different language systems that are a priori seen as separate entities. Rather, language-specificity is a pragmatic, and gradual, property of individual constructions. Language-specific and unspecific constructions are interconnected by a common network.
In recent years, DCxG has been increasingly adopted by researchers and applied to different language contact situations.
Publications & lectures
- Boas, Hans & Steffen Höder (eds.). Forthc. Constructions in contact. Constructional perspectives on contact phenomena in Germanic languages (Constructional Approaches to Language).
- Höder, Steffen. Forthc. Grammar is community-specific: Background and basic concepts of Diasystematic Construction Grammar. In Hans Boas & Steffen Höder (eds.), Constructions in contact. Constructional perspectives on contact phenomena in Germanic languages (Constructional Approaches to Language).
- Höder, Steffen. Forthc. Mehrsprachige Äußerungen aus dem Blickwinkel der Diasystematischen Konstruktionsgrammatik: eine Annäherung. Osnabrücker Beiträge zur Sprachtheorie.
- Höder, Steffen. 2017. A constructional approach to language in contact: Background and basic concepts of Diasystematic Construction Grammar. Plenary lecture, Construction Grammar: New Advances in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, 12 May 2017.
- Höder, Steffen. 2016. Niederdeutsche Form, unspezifische Struktur. Diasystematische Konstruktionen in der deutsch-dänischen Kontaktzone. In Helmut Spiekermann, Line-Marie Hohenstein, Stephanie Sauermilch & Kathrin Weber (eds.), Niederdeutsch: Grenzen, Strukturen, Variation (Niederdeutsche Studien 58), 293–309. Wien/Köln/Weimar: Böhlau.
- Höder, Steffen. 2016. Phonological elements and Diasystematic Construction Grammar. In Martin Hilpert & Jan-Ola Östman (eds.), Constructions across grammars (Benjamins Current Topics 82), 67–96. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins [first published 2014, in Constructions and Frames 6, 202–231].
- Höder, Steffen. 2016. Though this be contact, yet there is system in’t: Was man noch heute von Uriel Weinreich über Sprachkontakt lernen kann. In Alastair Walker (ed.), Classics revisited. Wegbereiter der Linguistik neu gelesen (Kieler Forschungen zur Sprachwissenschaft 6), 157–178. Frankfurt am Main etc.: Lang.
- Höder, Steffen. 2014. Constructing diasystems. Grammatical organisation in bilingual groups. In Tor A. Åfarli & Brit Mæhlum (eds.), The sociolinguistics of grammar (Studies in Language Companion Series 154), 137–152. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.
- Höder, Steffen. 2014. Convergence vs. divergence from a diasystematic perspective. In Kurt Braunmüller, Steffen Höder & Karoline Kühl (eds.), Stability and divergence in language contact. Factors and mechanisms (Studies in Language Variation 16), 39–60. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.
- Höder, Steffen. 2014. Phonological elements and Diasystematic Construction Grammar. Constructions and Frames 6, 202–231.
- Höder, Steffen. 2012. Multilingual constructions: a diasystematic approach to common structures. In Kurt Braunmüller & Christoph Gabriel (eds.), Multilingual individuals and multilingual societies (Hamburg Studies on Multilingualism 13), 241–257. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.