Language contact

It must be noted that Christa does not use the LBG element is in this narrative (in fact, although the boy is reported to call the frog by using the verb call, Christa does not use the interrogation she used earlier in file 1). While this type of borrowing is not apparent in this file, the analysis of the data reveals that Christa’s productions contain some other errors that are potential candidates for language borrowing. For example, she uses the sign have, an element of LBG, in combination with the sign idea (cf. (303)) which corresponds with the German expression eine Idee haben (‘to have an idea’). Now, this noun verb combination is not tar?get-like in DGS which is why we are led to conclude that Christa’s use of the verb have represents a case of language borrowing from German via LBG. Indeed, a look into the written German narrative produced by Christa at the time reveals that she uses this expression in German (compare (304)). The use of have in sequence (304) where it seems to serve the function of an auxiliary, however, as it would be the case in German, is more intriguing if regarded against the backdrop of Christa’s written productions at the time. Indeed, periphrastic verbs with the auxiliary haben (‘have’) are only produce half a year later, in her file 4 written narrative. The discrepancy leads us, once again, to speculate on the possibility that this usage is an effect from LBG.

Another candidate for language borrowing can be observed at the level of the DP. It is interesting to note that Christa uses the numeral one in combination with NPs six times in this narrative (cf. for example (306)), in a way that is reminiscent of determiner-noun combinations in German. However, at closer inspection, we can see that one does not fulfil the function ein or eine would serve in German (namely, that of an indefinite determiner) because it appears only once in an introductory context, whereas it is used 3 times in contexts in which characters are reintroduced and twice in contexts involving a series of events with the same protagonist. At the same time, we must note that the rather generic use of this determiner corresponds with Christa’s use of determiners in her written German. Although this phenomenon represents a case of language borrowing at the level of the DP, it occurs occasionally only (for example, in reintroduction contexts in 3

out of 22 constructions), which leads us to conclude that this phenomenon is not developmentally constrained.

Other candidates for language borrowing involve the use of pam with a target-deviant word order. In example (307) agreement is marked twice as Christa uses the verb sting to recount the bee’s stinging of the dog, which is followed by the use of pam in combination with a full NP. Because sting is an agreement verb, the use of the auxiliary pam to express the relation between the verb and its complement is unnecessary (it would only be used in DGS with this type of verb in those cases where there is a need for emphasis or clarification. Now, in (307) pam and its complement appear after the agreement verb, which is not a target-like order in DGS (the arrangement of the constituents is rather reminiscent of the surface SVO main clause order that is typical of German). From a narrative perspective the provision of this additional information serves the purpose of disambiguating the object reference of sting. Notice that without an overt preverbal expression of the object the final locus of the verb form produced might be associated with a generic referent (i.e. somebody) in (307) given that the dog had not been associated with this locus before (the bottom-up contrast on the vertical axis might serve as a cue, however: Christa narrated previously that the dog looks up to the beehive, whereas the bee stings somebody at the bottom). Finally, a note is due concerning the simultaneous expression of meanings in (307a) as Christa produces the sign cross simultaneously with the sign bee. This phenomenon is recurrent in this narrative reflecting also the increased narrative level of Christa at this stage.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >