Carmel O'Shannessy's paper, "Distributions of case allomorphy by multilingual children: Speaking Warlpiri and Light Warlpiri," appeared in volume 16 of Linguistic Variation (LV). This special issue was focused on the sociolinguistic and formal approaches to child language variation. Carmel’s abstract can be found below.
When a new linguistic code emerges and stabilizes, what are the roles of children and adults in leading and consolidating the changes? This question lies at the intersection of child language acquisition and contact-induced language change. Adults and children have played different roles in the development of a new mixed code, Light Warlpiri, spoken in a Warlpiri community in northern Australia that arose from code-switching practices among bilinguals. Elements from typologically dissimilar languages are combined systematically in the new language, with verbal and nominal structures derived from different sources. Verbal morphology is from English/Kriol (which have fixed nominative accusative word order patterns), with the addition of some innovations, probably brought in by speakers who were then children. Nominal case morphology is from Warlpiri (with ergative-absolutive case-marking, and flexible word order). But Light Warlpiri shows redistributions of case suffix allomorphy derived from Warlpiri. The paper shows the emerging case-marking patterns in Light Warlpiri, and tracks the roles played by children and adults in the changes.
According to the Linguistic Variation journal:
It seeks to investigate to what extent the study of linguistic variation can shed light on the broader issue of language-particular versus language-universal properties, on the interaction between what is fixed and necessary on the one hand and what is variable and contingent on the other. This enterprise involves properly defining and delineating the notion of linguistic variation, identifying possible loci of variation, investigating what the variable properties of natural language reveal about its underlying invariant core, and conversely, exploring the range and type of variation that arises from the interaction between several invariant principles.
Empirically, these issues can be investigated on the level of both intra- and interlinguistic differences, of closely related languages (microvariation, dialectology) and larger typological groups (macrovariation). Theoretically, these questions can be addressed from the point of view of syntax, morphology, phonology, phonetics, acquisition, psycholinguistics and semantics.
Linguistic Variation aims to provide a forum for the discussion of these and related topics. It welcomes both empirically and theoretically oriented papers that further our understanding of linguistic variation by relating patterns of variation to the organization of the language faculty.