Developmental profile: Muhammed

Muhammed’s narratives at the beginning of the study are characterised by a succession of short sentences that describe some of the main events of the picture book story. Temporal, causal, and spatial relations remain implicit in the first two narratives, in which structural and lexical gaps become apparent. As of file 3, Muhammed skilfully uses linguistic means available for narrative purposes, describing characters’ emotions and activities in more detail than in files 1 and 2. Text length varies between 20 to 50 propositions.

By assumption, the structure available to Muhammed at the onset of the study consists of a VP (cf. Table 4.1). Word order variation in Muhammed’s first file is indicative of how he exploits the basic sentential pattern at his disposal (the VP) to also convey complex meanings despite the structural limitations.

The expansion of the elementary VP structure by an additional IP layer is documented in file 3. In this file, Muhammed produces target-like sequences with periphrastic verb forms (auxiliary and modal verbs). However, he does not fully exploit the IP structure as he continues to produce more basic sentential formats with main verbs, and sequences with verb drop. The latter are indicative of remaining lexical gaps and a potential influence of DGS. By assumption, the IP structure is used to accommodate target V2 word order in file 5. Complemen- tiser introduced embedded clauses produced as of file 4 indicate that the structure available to Muhammed includes the CP layer. However, verb placement in embedded clauses is not mastered by the end of the recording time covered in the present study. Verb inflection also remains a domain which is not fully mastered by the end of the recording time. There is evidence of a rule-based formation of verb forms, but this is not applied across the board.

Table 4.11: Muhammed’s German profile.


Questions / embedded clauses (head-initial IP)

[file 5]

Max wollte und sehen wer ist sie, Max wanted and see who is she weil Max wollte denken wer ist es. because Max wanted think who is it

[file 4]

... weil Lisa ist verschwinden. because Lisa is gone




[file 5]

(lexicon, DETart)

[files 3-4]

(lexicon, DETART, attributive and complex clauses)

[file 4]

Paul da auch fallen in Wasser. Paul there also fall in water


(preverbal nonsubjects)

[file 5]

Am Abend haben Max und Paul ein Frosch at.the evening have Max and Paul a frog geschaut.

Verb raising (main verbs)

[no evidence]

Verb raising

[files 3-4]

(coexistence with VP)

(aux / mod)

[file 3]

Dayel und Kalle haben ein Frosch schaut. Dayel and Kalle have a frog looks




[files 1-2]

word order, figure-ground, OV?, lexicon, complex clauses

VP coexistence with IP

[files 3]

Dayel und Kalle fallen auf der See. Dayel and Kalle fall on the lake. Dayel under Wassen.

Dayel under water

VP headedness (head-initial?) (base-generation of modal verbs in IP or adjunction to VP?)

[files 2]

Law musst suchen der ein Frosch. Law must search the a frog

[files 2]

Law sauer weil Jach auf Law sitzt. Law angry because Jach on Law sits

No evidence of verb raising

[file 1] [file 1]

der ein Hirsch das ein Geweih. the a deer the a antlers (hoch)nehmen (up) take

Mama auch sagt Hallo.

Mama also says hello

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