Word Order and Verb Inflection in English-Speaking Children’s L2 Acquisition of German V2

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2005-03-01
Authors
Tran, Jennie
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University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Department of Linguistics
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2005
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Abstract
L1 acquisition data indicate that children know very early the German position-form contingency for verbs: finite verbs in verb second (V2) position; nonfinite verbs in verb-final position (e.g., Poeppel and Wexler 1993). The present paper investigates whether child L2 learners pattern like child L1 learners, reporting on young English speakers’ acquisition of (nonsubject-initial) V2 in German. Fourteen L1 English-speaking child L2 learners of German completed two elicited-production tasks, one targeting topicalized-DO (direct object) sentences, the other targeting topicalized-PP (prepositional phrase) sentences. The age at testing ranged from 8;11 to 14;0 (age at onset: 4;0–5;0). The results (i) contest Prévost’s (1997a, b) extension of the Truncation Hypothesis (Rizzi 1993/1994) to child L2 acquisition, (ii) are more compatible with the Missing Inflection Hypothesis (Haznedar and Schwartz 1997), and (iii) suggest that (unlike in L1 acquisition but like in adult L2 acquisition) finiteness and V2 are not developmentally interdependent in child L2 acquisition.
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linguistics
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Tran, Jennie. 2005. Word Order and Verb Inflection in English-Speaking Children’s L2 Acquisition of German V2. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Working Papers in Linguistics 36(2).
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