ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet


nyomtatható változat

Efremova, Tatyana (Budapest)

Grammatical interferences in Mari in the speech of bilingual urban speakers

The subject of this paper is grammatical interference in the Mari speech of bilingual Mari speakers living in the cities. The existing publications (e.g. Anduganov 1991, Galkin 1986, Isanbaev 1982, Sibatrova 2008, 2009) concerning the impact of Russian on Mari grammar are mainly based on dialectological fieldwork or literary texts and newspaper materials. This is also a way of establishing facts of variation in the linguistic product of native speakers. However, there is still a great deal to learn about the rate of expansion of these variations, if they are coming from social layering, how they are evaluated by native speakers, if they can result in linguistic changes, etc. The objective of the present paper is to consider some of these questions on the basis of empirical study results.
The research was carried out in August-September 2010 in Yoshkar-Ola with the participation of 29 informants, whose native language was Mari. Within the interview containing questions about Mari-Russian bilingualism all informants were asked to perform three tasks: to continue a sentence orally, to estimate the correctness of a sentence, and to correct a mistake in the text orally. The phenomena to be tested have emerged in Mari under the influence of Russian and were selected on the basis of existing publications and preliminary sociolinguistic interviews. They are as follows: the use of the plural marker after numerals, with words meaning paired parts of body, and with collective nouns; the use of Russian conjunctions and Russian word order in complex sentences with complement, relative, and conditional clauses, and in comparative constructions as well. Besides test results, extracts from the interviews have been analysed also.
At the beginning of the research the following suppositions were brought to a focus: 1) Evaluation of the studied phenomena and their current use must differ: interference estimated as non-normative must be often met in the speech of the respondents. 2) There must be a correlation between formality of situation and the informants' judgements in that the less formal a situation is, i.e. the less attention is paid to the speaker’s speech, the less interference is evaluated as deviation from the norm. 3) Women who focus on the more prestigious Russian language must estimate interference positively. 4) The younger generation who has more competent knowledge of Russian language in comparison with older generations must be more sensitive to interference. 5) Under the influence of Mari-Russian bilingualism, the norms of colloquial Mari and those of the written language must keep diverging from each other.
Some of these suppositions have been confirmed by the results, others have not. Almost all of the phenomena under discussion were perceived widely enough (by 31% of the informants at least and by 83% at most) as corresponding to the norm, which, in addition to the high frequency of the interferences found in the interviews, confirms the fifth hypothesis concerning divergence of the norms. However the third and the fourth supposition concerning gender and age factors have not been proved to be true.

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In Hungarian.