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Verb placement in second language acquisition: Experimental evidence for the different behavior of auxiliary and lexical verbs

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 April 2011

Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Josje Verhagen, University of Utrecht, P.O. Box 80140, Utrecht 3508 TC, The Netherlands. E-mail:


This study investigates the acquisition of verb placement by Moroccan and Turkish second language (L2) learners of Dutch. Elicited production data corroborate earlier findings from L2 German that learners who do not produce auxiliaries do not raise lexical verbs over negation, whereas learners who produce auxiliaries do. Data from elicited imitation and sentence matching support this pattern and show that learners can have grammatical knowledge of auxiliary placement before they can produce auxiliaries. With lexical verbs, they do not show such knowledge. These results present further evidence for the different behavior of auxiliary and lexical verbs in early stages of L2 acquisition.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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