Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Variable verb placement in second-language German and French: Evidence from production and elicited imitation of finite and nonfinite negated sentences

  • SARAH SCHIMKE (a1)

Abstract

This study examines the placement of finite and nonfinite lexical verbs and finite light verbs (LVs) in semispontaneous production and elicited imitation of adult beginning learners of German and French. Theories assuming nonnativelike syntactic representations at early stages of development predict variable placement of lexical verbs and consistent placement of LVs, whereas theories assuming nativelike syntax predict variability for nonfinite verbs and consistent placement of all finite verbs. The results show that beginning learners of German have consistent preferences only for LVs. More advanced learners of German and learners of French produce and imitate finite verbs in more variable positions than nonfinite verbs. This is argued to support a structure-building view of second-language development.

Copyright

Corresponding author

ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Sarah Schimke, Department of German Studies, University of Osnabrück, Neuer Graben 40, Osnabrück 49074, Germany. E-mail: sarah.schimke@uni-osnabrueck.de

References

Hide All
Anderson, J. R. (1974). Verbatim and propositional representation of sentences in immediate and long-term memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 13, 149162.
Bartlett, F. C. (1932). Remembering: A study in experimental and social psychology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Beck, M. (1998). L2 acquisition and obligatory head movement: English-speaking learners of German and the local impairment hypothesis. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 20, 311348.
Becker, A. (2005). The semantic knowledge base for the acquisition of negation and the acquisition of finiteness. In Hendriks, H. (Ed.), The structure of learner varieties (pp. 263314). Berlin: de Gruyter.
Begg, I. (1971). Recognition memory for sentence meaning and wording. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 10, 176181.
Behrens, H. (1993). Temporal reference in German child language: Form and function of early verb use. Doctoral dissertation, University of Amsterdam.
Bernini, G. (2000). Negative items and negation strategies in non-native Italian. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 22, 399438.
Binet, A., & Henry, V. (1894). La mémoire des phrases. Année Psychologique, 1, 2459.
Bley-Vroman, R. (1990). The logical problem of foreign language learning. Linguistic Analysis, 20, 349.
Bock, J., & Brewer, W. (1974). Reconstructive recall in sentences with alternative surface structures. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 103, 837843.
Chomsky, N. (1995). The minimalist program. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Clahsen, H. (1988). Critical phases of grammar development: A study of the acquisition of negation in children and adult. In Jordens, P. & Lalleman, J. (Eds.), Language Development (pp. 123148). Dordrecht: Foris.
Clahsen, H. (1990). The comparative study of first and second language development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 12, 135153.
Clahsen, H., Meisel, J., & Pienemann, M. (1983). Deutsch als Zweitsprache: Der Spracherwerb ausländischer Arbeiter. Tübingen: Gunter Narr.
Clahsen, H., & Muysken, P. (1986). The availability of universal grammar to adult and child learners: A study of the acquisition of German word order. Second Language Research, 2, 93119.
Clahsen, H., Penke, M., & Parodi, T. (1993). Functional categories in early child German. Language Acquisition, 3, 395429.
Dimroth, C. (2006). The finite story. Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics. Retrieved from http://corpus1.mpi.nl/ds/imdi_browser?openpath=MPI560350%23
Dimroth, C., Gretsch, P., Jordens, P., Perdue, C., & Starren, M. (2003). Finiteness in Germanic languages. A stage-model for first and second language development. In Dimroth, C. & Starren, M. (Eds.), Information structure and the dynamics of language acquisition (pp. 6593). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Epstein, S., Flynn, S., & Martohadjono, G. (1996). Second language acquisition: Theoretical and experimental issues in contemporary research. Brain and Behavioral Sciences, 19, 677758.
Eubank, L. (1993/1994). On the transfer of parametric values in L2 development. Language Acquisition, 3, 183208.
Eubank, L. (1996). Negation in early German–English interlanguage: More valueless features in the L2 initial state. Second Language Research, 12, 73106.
Ferdinand, A. (1996). The development of functional categories. The acquisition of the subject in French. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.
Fillenbaum, S. (1966). Memory for gist: Some relevant variables. Language and Speech, 9, 217227.
Flynn, S. (1986). Production vs. comprehension: Differences in underlying competences. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 8, 135164.
Franceschina, F. (2001). Morphological or syntactic deficits in near-native speakers? An assessment of some current proposals. Second Language Research, 17, 213247.
Giuliano, P. (2003). Negation and relational predicates in French and English as second languages. In Dimroth, C. & Starren, M. (Eds.), Information structure and the dynamics of language acquisition (pp. 119159). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Hamayan, E., Saegert, J., & Larudee, P. (1977). Elicited imitation in second language learners. Language and Speech, 20, 8697.
Hawkins, R. (2000). Persistent selective fossilization in second language acquisition and the optimal design of the language faculty. Essex Research Reports in Linguistics, 34, 75–90.
Hawkins, R. (2001). Second language syntax. A generative introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.
Hawkins, R., & Chan, C. (1997). The partial availability of universal grammar in second language acquisition: The failed functional features hypothesis. Second Language Research, 13, 187226.
Haznedar, B. (1997). L2 acquisition by a Turkish-speaking child: Evidence for L1 influence. In Hughes, E., Hughes, M., & Greenhill, A. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 21st Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 245256). Sommerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Haznedar, B., & Schwartz, B. (1997). Are there optional infinitives in child L2 acquisition? In Hughes, E., Hughes, M., & Greenhill, A. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 21st Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 257268). Sommerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Herschensohn, J. (2001). Missing inflection in second language French: Accidental infinitives and other verbal deficits. Second Language Research, 17, 273305.
Ionin, T., & Wexler, K. (2002). Why is “is” easier than -s?: acquisition of tense/agreement morphology by child second language learners of English. Second Language Research, 18, 95136.
Johnson-Laird, P., & Stevenson, R. (1970). Memory for syntax. Nature, 227, 412.
Jordens, P., & Dimroth, C. (2006). Finiteness in children and adults learning Dutch. In Bittner, D. & Gagarina, N. (Eds.), Acquisition of verb grammar and verb arguments (pp. 173200). Dordrecht: Springer.
Klein, W. (2000). An analysis of the German Perfect. Language, 76, 358382.
Klein, W., & Perdue, C. (1997). The basic variety (or: couldn't natural language be much simpler?). Second Language Research, 13, 301347.
Kuczaj, S., & Maratsos, M. (1975). What children can say before they will. Merrill–Palmer Quarterly, 21, 89111.
Lahey, M., Launer, P., & Schiff-Myers, N. (1983). Prediction of production: Elicited imitation and spontaneous speech productions of language disordered children. Applied Psycholinguistics, 4, 317343.
Lardiere, D. (1998). Dissociating syntax from morphology in a divergent L2 end-state grammar. Second Language Research, 14, 359375.
Lasser, I. (1997). Finiteness in adult and child German. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, City University of New York.
Markman, B., Spilka, I., & Tucker, G. (1975). The use of elicited imitation in search of an interim French grammar. Language Learning, 25, 3141.
Meisel, J. (1983). Strategies of second language acquisition: More than one kind of simplification. In Andersen, R. (Ed.), Pidginization and Creolization and language acquisition (pp. 120157). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Meisel, J. (1991). Principles of universal grammar and strategies of language use: On the similarities and differences between first and second language acquisition. In Eubank, L. (Ed.), Point counterpoint (pp. 231267). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Meisel, J. (1997). The acquisition of the syntax of negation in French and German: Contrasting first and second language development. Second Language Research, 13, 227263.
Myles, F. (2004). From data to theory: The over-representation of linguistic knowledge in SLA. Transactions of the Philological Society, 102, 139168.
Myles, F., Mitchell, R., & Hopper, J. (1999). Interrogative chunks in French L2. A basis for creative construction? Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 21, 4980.
Munnich, E., Flynn, S., & Martohardjono, G. (1994). Elicited imitation and grammaticality judgement tasks: What they measure and how they relate to each other. In Tarone, E., Gass, S., & Cohen, A. (Eds.), Research methodology in second language acquisition (pp. 227243). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Naiman, N. (1974). The use of elicited imitation in second language acquisition research. Working Papers on Bilingualism, 2, 137.
Ouhalla, J. (1991). Functional categories and parametric variation. London: Routledge.
Parodi, T. (2000). Finiteness and verb placement in second language acquisition. Second Language Research, 16, 125141.
Pierce, A. (1989). On the emergence of syntax: A cross-linguistic study. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, MIT.
Pierce, A. (1992). Language acquisition and syntactic theory: A comparative analysis of French and English child grammars. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Poeppel, D., & Wexler, K. (1993). The full competence hypothesis of clause structure in early German. Language, 69, 133.
Pollock, J.-Y. (1989). Verb movement, universal grammar and the structure of IP. Linguistic Inquiry, 20, 365–344.
Prévost, P. (2004). Morphological variation in early adult second language French: A cross-sectional study. In Foster-Cohen, S., Sharwood-Smith, M., Sorace, A., & Ota, M. (Eds.), EUROSLA yearbook 2004 (pp. 147175). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Prévost, P., & White, L. (2000). Missing surface inflection or impairment in second language acquisition? Evidence from tense and agreement. Second Language Research, 16, 103133.
Rule, S., & Marsden, E. (2006). The acquisition of functional cateories in early French second language grammars: The use of finite and nonfinite verbs in negative contexts. Second Language Research, 22, 188218.
Sachs, J. (1967). Recognition memory for syntactic and semantic aspects of connected discourse. Perception & Psychophysics, 2, 437442
Schlyter, S. (2003). Development of verb morphology and finiteness in children and adults acquiring French. In Dimroth, C. & Starren, M. (Eds.), Information structure and the dynamics of language acquisition (pp. 1544). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Schwartz, B., & Sprouse, R. (1994). Word order and nominative case in nonnative language acquisition: A longitudinal study of (L1 Turkish) German interlanguage. In Hoekstra, T. & Schwartz, B. (Eds.), Language acquisition studies in generative grammar (pp. 317368). Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.
Schwartz, B., & Sprouse, R. (1996). L2 cognitive states and the full transfer/full access model. Second Language Research, 12, 4072.
Slobin, D., & Welsh, C. (1968). Elicited imitation as a research tool in developmental pyscholinguistics. In Ferguson, C. & Slobin, D. (Eds.), Studies of child language development (pp. 485497). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Smith, C. (1973). An experimental approach to children's linguistic competence. In Ferguson, C. & Slobin, D. (Eds.), Studies of child language development (pp. 497521). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Snape, N., Leung, Y.-K. I., & Sharwood Smith, M. (2009). Representational deficits in SLA: Studies in honor of Roger Hawkins. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Vainikka, A., & Young-Scholten, M. (1994). Direct access to X′-theory: Evidence from Korean and Turkish adults learning German. In Hoekstra, T. & Schwarz, B. (Eds.), Language acquisition studies in generative grammar (pp. 265316). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Vainikka, A., & Young-Scholten, M. (1996a). Gradual development of L2 phrase structure. Second Language Research, 12, 739.
Vainikka, A., & Young-Scholten, M. (1996b). The earliest stages in adult L2 syntax: Additional evidence from Romance speakers. Second Language Research, 12, 140176.
Vainikka, A., & Young-Scholten, M. (2009). Succesful features. Verb raising and adverbs in L2 acquisition under an Organic Grammar approach. In Snape, N., Leung, Y.-K. I., & Smith, M. Sharwood (Eds.), Representational deficits in SLA: Studies in honor of Roger Hawkins (pp. 5369). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Verhagen, J. (2005). The role of the auxiliary hebben in Dutch as a second language. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik (LiLi), 140, 99127.
Verhagen, J. (2009). Finiteness in Dutch as a second language. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and MPI for Psycholinguistics.
Verhagen, J., & Schimke, S. (2009). Differences or fundamental differences? Comment on J. Meisel's article, “Second language acquisition in early childhood.” Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft, 28, 97106.
Vinther, T. (2002). Elicited imitation: A brief overview. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 12, 5473.
Wanner, E. (1974). On remembering, forgetting, and understanding sentences. The Hague: Mouton.
Wode, H. (1981). Learning a second language. Tübingen: Gunter Narr.
Zobel, H., & Liceras, J. (1994). Functional categories and acquisition order. Language Learning, 44, 159180.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Applied Psycholinguistics
  • ISSN: 0142-7164
  • EISSN: 1469-1817
  • URL: /core/journals/applied-psycholinguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed