The expression of spatial relationships in Turkish/Dutch bilinguals

Peter Indefrey, Hülya Sahin, Marianne Gullberg

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7 Citations (SciVal)


We investigated how two groups of Turkish–Dutch bilinguals and two groups of monolingual speakers of the two languages described static topological relations. The bilingual groups differed with respect to their first (L1) and second (L2) language proficiencies and a number of sociolinguistic factors. Using an elicitation tool that covers a wide range of topological relations, we first assessed the extensions of different spatial expressions (topological relation markers, TRMs) in the Turkish and Dutch spoken by monolingual speakers. We then assessed differences in the use of TRMs between the two bilingual groups and monolingual speakers.
In both bilingual groups, differences compared to monolingual speakers were mainly observed for Turkish. Dutch-dominant bilinguals showed enhanced congruence between translation-equivalent Turkish and Dutch TRMs. Turkish-dominant bilinguals extended the use of a topologically neutral locative marker.
The results can be interpreted as showing different “bilingual optimization strategies” (Muysken, 2013) in bilingual speakers who live in the same environment but differ with respect to L2 onset, L2 proficiency, and perceived importance of the L1.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-493
Number of pages21
JournalBilingualism: Language and Cognition
Issue number3
Early online date2016 Jan 22
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Humanities Lab (015101200), Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
  • Specific Languages


  • bilingualism
  • semantics
  • Turkish
  • Dutch
  • convergence


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