"The proposed project will explore structure and acquisition in contemporary Yiddish used by the Jewish Ultra-Orthodox (UO) community in Antwerp, Belgium. This community lives in a unique multilingual situation that includes three main languages; Yiddish and Dutch - two living languages competing as native tongues, and Loshn Koydesh(Classical Hebrew) - restricted only for praying and not used for daily communication. Our window onto native Antwerp Yiddish is the system of noun plurals, whereby a singular noun (e.g. kind 'child') takes on a plural suffix (kinder 'children'). The aim of the project is two-fold: First, to describe the system of noun plurals as it is currently used by adults, taking into account the intensive contact with Dutch, and second, to understand how this system is acquired by children from the same community.
In order to achieve these aims, the project will include two phases: the first is the Baseline Study, in which a confrontational noun plural naming task will be administered to 100 Antwerp Yiddish speaking adults. Data analyses will describe and explain the properties of the plural system in Antwerp Yiddish. This baseline will serve as the basis for the second phase of our project – the Developmental Study, in which 100 UO children in five age groups (3, 5, 7, 9, 11) will be administered two tasks: (1) a structured noun plural naming test and (2) a semi-structured naming test based on a set of pictures. Data will be analyzed according to methods of quantification of morphological diversity as well as quantitative normalization procedures in corpus analysis.
Thus, this project will enable an international collaboration between the applicant's research experience in the Israeli context, and the linguistic expertise available in Antwerp University. This interdisciplinary cooperation will facilitate transfer of knowledge and training skills for the benefit of the applicant's career development and the enrichment of the European research area."
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