Heritage speaker pragmatics The interplay of Russian and Hebrew in request formation

Marina Avramenko, Natalia Meir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The current study investigated request production in Russian as a Heritage language (HL), with a special focus on the role of cross-linguistic influence (CLI) of the majority societal language (here SL-Hebrew) and Age of Onset of Bilingualism (AOB). Ninety-seven adult participants were recruited in four groups: three groups of Russian-Hebrew bilinguals with various AOBs of SL-Hebrew - before the age of 5 (n=32), between the ages of 5-13 (n=20), after the age of 13 (n=19) - and a control group of monolingual Russian speakers (n=26). The study elicited 20 requests in formal and informal contexts through oral role-plays. The results indicate that heritage speakers acquire the basics of prototypical Russian request strategies across various social contexts. The results also show effects of CLI and AOB in the pragmatic competence of HL-speakers. When faced with linguistic difficulties to express requests, HL speakers resort to the use of compensatory strategies leading to the creation of novel structures. These novel structures are a combination of conventions that are characteristic of the Russian acquired in childhood and transfer from the dominant SL. The study makes an important contribution to the understanding of HL pragmatic development by investigating the effects of CLI and AOB.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLinguistic Approaches to Bilingualism
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 John Benjamins Publishing Company.


  • Hebrew
  • Russian
  • age of onset of bilingualism
  • crosslinguistic influence
  • heritage language pragmatics
  • requests


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