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Home arrow Language & Literature arrow Bilingualism and Deafness: On Language Contact in the Bilingual Acquisition of Sign Language and Written Language
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DGS competence at the onset of the study

Syntax

Word order. At the onset of this study, Maria’s DGS productions reveal her command of the target sentence structure. Her adherence to the target word order constraints becomes apparent in constructions with locative complements, which appear preverbally as is illustrated in examples (177) and (178). Notice that the spatial configuration described in (177) involves a complex classifier construction, in which reference to the location is backgrounded through the h2-classifier. Example (178) involves the directional spatial verb go following a locative complement specifying the ground of the boy’s activity.

Complex sentential constructions. Not only does Maria adhere to the target word order constraints in simple clauses, she also produces various target-like complex sentential constructions, which indicates that the full target sentence structure is available to her. Apart from complex clauses with the verb see (compare example (179a)) Maria produces a complex sentential constructions with the modal verb like-то (cf. (180)) and one with the verb know (cf. (181b)). Subordinated clauses also appear, at times, in the context of repetitions, in which the signer provides more specific information about the activity described (in (182b) Maria indicates that the boy gets dressed for the purpose of the searching the dog outdoors). As Maria’s command of complex sentential constructions with POVs also reflects her mastery of the linguistic means used to establish and maintain reference we will discuss examples of these constructions below.

Interrogation. File 1 also contains evidence for availability of the mechanisms necessary for question formation as Maria produces two instances of interroga- tives with wh-words (compare example (183)).

 
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