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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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Further development

Compared with the first narrative in file 1, the narrative flow of the narration in file 3 is smooth, without the hesitations that characterised the first story, which might be taken as an indication of progress in Fuad’s command of DGS.

Structural complexity

SOV and repetitions. At the level of word order, the analysis reveals that Fuad adheres to the target SOV order with the exception of a few instances, in which additional information is added after the predicate, and one utterance involving a target-deviant word order with the auxiliary pam (cf. (224)). Examples (225) and (226) illustrate the target-like preverbal placement of the object complement and the locative complement respectively.

In this narrative we also find several examples of repetitions. Such repetitions often occur for the purpose of providing further specification. In (227), for example, Fuad provides additional information about the referent(s) involved in the event described. From a narrative perspective, the choice of a subject NP in (227b) contributes to an unambiguous identification (notice that the boy is reintroduced as a protagonist of this narrative episode). Furthermore, in (227d) the original structure of the utterance in (227c)) is expanded in accordance with the target constraints (the modifying expression is correctly placed before the main verb appearing in the sentence-final position).

Notice, however, that the verb does not appear in sentence-final position in example (228), a sequence that also includes a modifying expression involving the preposition with. If we contrast (227) with (228) we might speculate on the possibility that (228), too, involves a repetition, but that for some reason the verb was not repeated again. Alternatively, we might assume there is variation regarding the order of the verb and its modifying complements.

Additional indications for a potential variation at the level of word order can be observed in examples (229) and (230). Notice that in (229), too, we find a postposition of the goal of the boy’s aim (to go back home); a similar sequence is repeated shortly after, before the end of the narration (compare (230)). Two interpretations of these seemingly problematic examples are possible: either go-back and at-home in (229) represent a sequence of two separate propositions (the boy wants to go back, and he wants to be at home) or both expressions are combined in a manner that is target-deviant in DGS. As the sequence neither corresponds to a target equivalent in German (recall that the non-finite verb in that language would appear in sentence-final position), language mixing as an option would be ruled out in this case. Interestingly, however, Fuad produces similar sequences in his written German productions at the time, as we can see in (231) and (232), which do not contain the expression zuruck (‘back’) but the expression nach Hause (‘to home’), appearing sentence-finally in (231) (the verb gehen can be dropped in this case), and in (232), in which the adverbial would appear before the non-finite verb in a target-like equivalent.

Complex sentential constructions. Fuad’s file 3 documents the use of a broader scope of complex sentential constructions with embedded clauses, which also reflects an increasing complexity at the narrative level. In (233), for example, which involves a constituent clause selected by the verb believe, we learn about the boy’s assumptions about the whereabouts of the frog. Several complex structures with modal verbs are used to narrate characters’ intentions or their requests (cf., for example, (239) below, involving the verb must).

Worthy of mention is the frequent use of coordinated sentential constructions in this narrative. (234) is an example of a complex sentential construction with the coordinating conjunction and. Note that Fuad uses such coordinated sentences not only to express two activities of one story character as in (234); he also uses coordination as a means to express the simultaneity of events involving two different characters as is illustrated in example (235), in which we learn what the second protagonist (the dog) is doing at the same time as the boy. Note that the expression of simultaneity also occurs through the use of the adverb also (compare example (242) discussed below).

Interrogation. Finally, in this narrative Fuad produces one interrogative clause with an overt subject (cf. (236)) apart from another one containing only the wh-word where.

 
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