This paper presents and analyzes lexical and syntactic evidence from Heritage Russian as it is spoken by bilinguals whose dominant language is American English. The data come from the Russian Learner Corpus, a novel resource including written materials that have been produced by heritage re-learners and L2 learners of Russian. The discussion in the paper has its focus on lexical phrase violations that include transfer-based structures, The discussion in the current paper has its focus both on lexical phrase violations that take the form of transfer-based structures and creative means of structures, used by heritage speakers, but generally unavailable to L2 learners. In creating innovative structures, heritage speakers combine resources from both languages. In constructing new expressions, heritage speakers follow the general principle of compositionality. As a result, the novel constructions are more semantically transparent than their correlates in the baseline or in the dominant language. We argue that semantically transparent, fully compositional patterns are based on structures that are universal across languages. In addition to comparing linguistic creativity in heritage speakers and L2 learners, we examine parallels and differences between heritage speakers and children when the latter acquire their first language acquiring their first language.
The volume presents several papers on Mehweb, a one-village language spoken in the central part of Daghestan, a republic of the Russian Federation.