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  • Bohnacker, Ute, 1969- (författare)
  • Developmental sequences and (in)vulnerable domains in German interlanguage syntax.
  • 2006
  • Ingår i: Language acquisition and development : Proceedings of GALA 2005. - Cambridge : Cambridge Scholars Press. - ISBN 1-84718-028-0 ; s. 65-78
  • Konferensbidrag (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Many models of the nonnative acquisition of syntax build on the assumption that target lexical projections are developmentally prior to target functional projections (e.g. Minimal Trees (Vainikka & Young-Scholten 1994), Modulated Structure Building (Hawkins 2001)), or that learners only have to grapple with the acquisition of the topmost levels of syntactic structure (e.g. Vulnerable C-domain (Platzack 2001)). Germanic verb second (V2) is often said to be difficult for L2 learners irrespective of their L1. Targetlike finite verb placement in non-subject-initial root clauses (V2) has been described as being dependent on targetlike nonfinite verb placement (VO/OV) having been acquired first. Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Swedish as well as Turkish and Korean learners of German have been reported to acquire German-style OV long before V2 (e.g. duPlessis et al. 1987; Vainikka & Young-Scholten 1996b; Pienemann 1998; Schwartz & Sprouse 1994; Vainikka & Young-Scholten 1994, 1996a, b). Recent work on Swedish/German (e.g. Vulnerable C-domain (Platzack 2001), Processability (e.g. Håkansson, Pienemann & Sayehli 2002)) claims that speakers of a V2-language learning another V2-language start with a non-V2 interlanguage grammar, i.e. they do not transfer V2, but follow a universal developmental path of verb placement. The present paper contests the above claims, presenting quantified oral production data from 6 L1 Swedish adult ab-initio learners of German (4 & 9 months of exposure to classroom German) as well as oral and written production data from 23 L1 Swedish 16-year-old intermediate learners (3 years of classroom German). I document productive use of non-subject-initial V2 declarative clauses after only 4 months of exposure to German, at a time when the informants’ interlanguage syntax elsewhere is nontargetlike – and this, notably, includes head-initial VPs (VO). There is also a categorical difference between informants depending on whether they have prior knowledge of L2 English. Of the Swedish adult ab initio learners, 3 were acquiring German as their first L2, and they produce 100% targetlike V2. However, the other informants who had substantial previous exposure to English, only produce 45% targetlike non-subject-initial V2 in their L3 German, also allowing nontargetlike V3, i.e. Adv-SVX (cf. Bohnacker 2005a, 2005b). This suggests that the non-V2 syntax of their L2 English influences their acquisition of L3 German, a potential confound that was not controlled for in earlier studies such as Håkansson, Pienemann & Sayehli (2002) and Platzack (2001). The results suggest that there is no universal developmental route to L2/L3 German verb placement, that the C-domain is not vulnerable per se, that the V-domain is not invulnerable per se, that learners make use of their V2-L1 syntax (Swedish), and that knowledge of a non-V2 language (English) can make it initially more difficult to acquire another V2 language (German). The findings are interpreted as strong empirical support for transfer approaches to the nonnative acquisition of syntax (e.g. Schwartz & Sprouse 1994, 1996). Going beyond the findings reported in Bohnacker (2005a, b), I look at nonfinite verb placement (VO/OV) in the interlanguage German of the Swedish learners in more detail. Here, the learners show awareness of German being OV early on (by 9 months), in contrast to Swedish. However, alongside targetlike OV productions, the ab initio learners continue to produce 30% nontarget VO utterances. This also holds for a large subgroup of the 16-year-old intermediate learners who exhibit sizeable percentages of nontarget head-initial VPs (VO) after 3 years of exposure. Yet there is no correlation between VO and V2 violations, nor between targetlike OV and perfect V2. Nonfinite verb placement (VP headedness), especially in oral production, is a lot less targetlike than their finite verb placement (i.e. V2). However, VP headedness appears to interact with syntactic context in quirky construction-specific ways. For instance, when embedding a VP under a finite auxiliary, learners overwhelmingly stick to head-final VPs (cf. (1)), but when coordinating VPs, they tend to produce a head-initial VP in the second conjunct (cf. (2)). I will address some of the implications these findings may have for current models of L2 syntax acquisition. (1)ich will ein Hund haben. I want a dog have ‘I want to have a dog.’ (2)L2er: ich will nach Paris fahren und schreiben Poesie und Dichte. I want to Paris go-INF and write-INF poetry and poems Target: ich will nach Paris fahren und Poesie und Gedichte schreiben. ‘I want to go to Paris and write poetry (and poems).’
  • Bohnacker, Ute (författare)
  • On the “vulnerability” of syntactic domains in Swedish and German
  • 2007
  • Ingår i: Language Acquisition. - 1048-9223 .- 1532-7817. ; 14:1, s. 31-73
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Thispaper investigates the L2 acquisition of clausal syntax in post-puberty learnersof German and Swedish regarding V2, VP headedness and verb particleconstructions. The learner data are tested against L2 theories according towhich lower structural projections (VP) are acquired before higher functionalprojections (IP, CP), VP syntax is unproblematic (invulnerable), but where grammatical operations related to thetopmost level of syntactic structure (CP) are acquired late (e.g. Platzack’s(2001) vulnerable C-domain). It willbe shown that such theories do not hold water: native speakers of Swedishlearning German and native speakers of German learning Swedish both master V2from early on. At the same time, these learners exhibit a nontargetlike syntaxat lower structural levels: residual VO in the case of the Swedish-L1 learnersof German, and persistent nontarget transitive verb particle constructions inthe German-L1 learners of Swedish. I argue that these findings are bestexplained by assuming full transfer of L1 syntax (e.g. Schwartz & Sprouse 1996).
  • Bohnacker, Ute, et al. (författare)
  • The clause-initial position in L2 German declaratives Transfer of information structure
  • 2008
  • Ingår i: Studies in Second Language Acquisition. - 0272-2631 .- 1470-1545. ; 30:4, s. 511-538
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • This article investigates the information structure of verb-second (V2) declaratives in Swedish, German, and nonnative German. Even though almost any type of element can occur in the so-called prefield, the clause-initial preverbal position of V2 declaratives, we have found language-specific patterns in native-speaker corpora: The frequencies of prefield constituent types differ substantially between German and Swedish, and Swedish postpones new (rhematic) information and instead fills the prefield with given (thematic) elements and elements of no or low informational value (e.g., expletives) to a far greater extent than German. We compare Swedish learners of German to native controls matched for age and Genre (Bohnacker 2005, 2006; Rosén 2006). These learners master the syntactic properties of V2 but start their sentences in nonnative ways. They overapply the Swedish principle of rheme later in their second language German, indicating first language (L1) transfer at the interace of syntax and information structure, especially for structures that are frequent in the L1.
  • Bohnacker, Ute, 1969-, et al. (författare)
  • The role of input frequency in article acquisition in early child Swedish
  • 2007
  • Ingår i: Frequency effects in language acquisition : Defining the limits of frequency as an explanatory concept. - Berlin & New York : Mouton de Gruyter. - 9783110196719 ; s. 51-82
  • Bokkapitel (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • This paper investigates patterns of article use in monolingual early child Swedish and in child-directed adult speech. Article omissions in the adult data are found to be more widespread than previously assumed, especially articleless, “bare” singular count nouns (e.g. sten ‘stone’ instead of en sten ‘a stone’) and article omissions in doubly determined nominals (e.g. lilla tummen (little thumb-the, ‘the little thumb’) instead of den lilla tummen (the little thumb-the; ‘the little thumb’). Such omissions in the input may arguably influence the course of acquisition. In the two children studied, an initial determinerless stage (1;3-1;7) is followed by a stage of optional articles (1;8-1;11). Targetlike article provision is reached at 2;0, which is early compared to most other Germanic languages. Definite enclitic articles (e.g. -en ‘the’ as in sten-en ‘the stone’) emerge at an earlier age and are produced at higher frequencies than indefinite prenominal articles (e.g. en ‘a’ as in en sten ‘a stone’) and at an earlier age and at much higher frequencies than definite prenominal articles (e.g. den ‘the’ as in den lilla tummen ‘the little thumb’). These child frequency patterns appear to replicate those of the adult caregivers. However, input frequency is argued to be an insufficient explanation for Swedish article acquisition, because of striking mismatches in child and adult article use in other areas, especially bare nouns. Investigations of child-directed adult speech are nevertheless important because they tell us what the immediate target looks like for the young child, which may be different from what linguists and reference grammars tend to assume.
  • Bohnacker, Ute, 1969- (författare)
  • When Swedes begin to learn German : From V2 to V2
  • 2006
  • Ingår i: Second language research. - 0267-6583 .- 1477-0326. ; 22:4, s. 443-486
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • This article investigates verb placement, especially Verb second(V2), in post-puberty second language (L2) learners of two closelyrelated Germanic V2 languages: Swedish and German. Håkansson,et al. (2002) have adduced data from first language (L1) Swedish-speakinglearners of German in support of the claim that the syntacticproperty of V2 never transfers from the L1 to L2 interlanguagegrammars. Regardless of L1, learners are said to follow a hypothesizeduniversal developmental path of L2 German verb placement,where V2 is mastered very late (only after Object–Verb, OV, hasbeen acquired), if ever. Explanations include the notion ofSubject–Verb–Object (SVO) being a more basic, ‘canonical’ wordorder (e.g. Clahsen and Muysken, 1986), so-called ‘vulnerability’of the C-domain (Platzack, 2001), and ‘processability’, accordingto which SVX and Adv–SVX (i.e. V3) are easier to process (i.e.produce) than XVS (i.e. V2) (e.g. Pienemann, 1998). However, theempirical data comes exclusively from Swedes learning German asa third language, after substantial exposure to English. When theselearners violate V2, syntactic transfer from English, a non-V2 language,cannot be ruled out. In order to control for this potential confound,I compare new oral production data from six adult Swedishab initio learners of German, three with prior knowledge of Englishand three without. With an appropriate elicitation method, theinformants can be shown to productively use non-subject-initial V2in their German after four months of exposure, at a point when theirinterlanguage syntax elsewhere is non-targetlike (VO instead ofOV). Informants who do not know English never violate V2 (0%),indicating transfer of V2-L1 syntax. Those with prior knowledge ofEnglish are less targetlike in their L3-German productions (45% V2violations), indicating interference from non-V2 English. Theseresults suggest that, contra Håkansson et al. (2002), learners dotransfer the property of V2 from their L1, and that L2 knowledge ofa non-V2 language (English) may obscure this V2 transfer. Thefindings also suggest that V2 is not difficult to acquire per se, andthat V2 is not developmentally dependent on target headedness ofthe VP (German OV) having been acquired first.
  • Downing, Laura J., 1954- (författare)
  • Morphology conditions minimality in Bantu language
  • 2005
  • Ingår i: Studies in African Comparative Linguistics, with special focus on Bantu and Mande. - Tervuren (Belgium) : Royal Museum for Central Africa. ; s. 259-280
  • Bokkapitel (refereegranskat)
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