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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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Word order in Muhammed’s narratives

The analysis of main clause verb placement in Muhammed’s narratives (see Figure 4.2 and also Table D-1 in Appendix D) reveals that V2 sequences predominate as of file 1. Two phenomena deserve further attention, namely, the high rate of sequences with verb drop, and the frequency of V3 formats. Indeed, as we can glean from Figure 4.2 the proportion of verb drop in main clauses remains relatively high throughout the whole corpus, ranging between 16 and 20% in files 1, 2, 3, and 5; an exceptionally high rate of 30.3% is documented for file 4. Because verb drop remains a constant and a frequent phenomenon in Muhammed’s narratives, which marks a difference to the overall tendency of a decrease in the narratives of the other participants, we shall pay particular attention to it in the next sections. As for Muhammed’s use of V3 formats, we can see in Figure 4.2 that sequences with the verb in sentence-third position appear in files 1 and 2 but not in file 3. They reappear in file 4 with a relative frequency of 15.2%, nearly disappearing again in file 5, the file in which we find the highest number of XVS sequences, that is, patterns which comply with the target V2 constraint. We advance that this development is connected, as it has been found to be the case in the grammars of other learners of German as a second language.

Main clause verb placement in Muhammed’s narratives

Figure 4.2: Main clause verb placement in Muhammed’s narratives.

Turning to complex constructions in Muhammed’s narratives, we can see in Figure 4.3 that the frequency of embedded clauses (EC) remains rather low throughout the recording time covered in this study. This holds equally of coordinated clauses (CC).

Relative frequency of main (MC), embedded (EC) and coordinated clauses (CC) in Muhammed’s narratives

Figure 4.3: Relative frequency of main (MC), embedded (EC) and coordinated clauses (CC) in Muhammed’s narratives.

The analysis of word order in the few embedded clauses produced reveals that the placement of the verb in the second position after the complementiser (EC-V2) predominates throughout the recording time (cf. Figure 4.4).

Verb placement in subordinated clauses of Muhammed’s narratives

Figure 4.4: Verb placement in subordinated clauses of Muhammed’s narratives.

 
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