Change in contact is known to affect some areas of grammar and leave others virtually untouched. The parts of grammar that are more often targeted are those involving interfaces, as they need mastery of more than one grammatical module. In this talk I will argue that microcontact, i.e. contact between minimally-differing grammars, is an important dimension to consider when drawing generalizations on change in contact. A number of studies on microcontact between Italo-Romance heritage languages in Argentina, Brazil, Canada and US (carried out within the Microcontact ERC project) show that some generalizations drawn on the basis of contact between two varieties only are in fact incomplete. It will be shown how topicality and indexicality are used as core strategies for change-in-contact resolution when speakers have no real perception of structural and typological distance.
Re-watch the lecture here: