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I know a woman, whose native language is Kyrgyz (Turkic family) and who learned Russian as an adult (mostly, maybe she was somewhat exposed to it before as well).

What striked me is that she invented her own "locative case", with an ending -ах, that neither Russian, nor Turkic seemingly have.

For instance, she would say "я дорогах" instead of "я в дороге" or "будешь квартирах" instead of "будешь в квартире".

I wonder what can lead to the appearance of such self-invented cases and how much this is common?

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I challenge your interpretation: In Russian the ending -ах is the prepositional plural ending and thus it is not an invented case at all. In my interpretation, it is just a missing preposition.

Dropping prepositions is quite frequent for L2 learners, the stereotypical Gastarbeiterdeutsch sentence Ich gehe Aldi instead of High German Ich gehe zum Aldi shows the same phenomenon. Until recently, speakers of Turkish were the largest group of immigrants to Germany, and the dropping of locative prepositions might be an influence of a Turkic L1.

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  • She was using it as singular, not plural. Including, in cases where there was no plural physical objects at all... – Anixx Oct 26 '20 at 17:53
  • And she does not use plural instead of singular in other cases... – Anixx Oct 26 '20 at 18:08
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On your general question on what can explain this, I'd point you to read on Pidgins and Creoles. Creoles are languages that emerged in environments where speaker A has no languages in common with speaker B. Pidgins are "Creoles-to-be", that is, they're some sort of pre-stage of some Creole. There's a lot of research going on on these kinds of stuff in Europe, too, as mentioned by jk's comment ("Gastarbeiterdeutsch").

It'd be interesting to know if the person you heard -- as I understand, speaking to someone she knew speaks Russian -- uses that thing, and if other people do. Then you could identify linguistic research on exactly that (say, a Kyrgyz/Russian pidgin).

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  • I never heard it from other people. She definitely uses it when talking with people she knows know Russian. – Anixx Nov 20 '20 at 1:24

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