V2 and complex clauses

V2 constraint. Evidence for the integration of sentence-initial non-subject XPs into the main clause structure deriving target non-subject V2 sequences appears first in file 5 (see example (455)). In this file we also observe that the frequency of V3 structures has dropped to only one instance. Taken together these two observations suggest that the V2 constraint is a component of Muhammed’s L2 German grammar at this stage.

Complex clauses. In this file, too, Muhammed produces a series of complex clauses including the first instances of embedded clauses introduced by a wh-word. Note, though, that the verb fails to appear in the target final position (cf. (456)) or is dropped (cf. (457)).

Language contact phenomena

Taking up the phenomenon of verb drop, we can see that Muhammed continues to produce verbless clauses such as examples (458) and (459) until the end of the recording time considered in this study. In some cases, verb drop results from remaining lexical gaps in German: in example (458), which, by assumption, describes the dog’s licking of the boy’s cheek Muhammed uses the adjective sauber (‘clean’) instead of the verb lecken (‘to lick’). Other cases of verb drop seem to involve the calquing of predicative DGS constructions including the existential determiner of that language, translated into German as da (‘there’). This is probably the case in example (459), which provides information about the frog parents having six children. In contrast to previous narratives, however, the one produced in file 5 provides evidence for the use of the copula in various contexts. Indeed, the copula appears in interrogative clauses (cf. example (456) discussed previously), in embedded clauses with the expression weg (‘gone’) (example (460)) or in combination with da in example (461) (recall that da+X used as a verbless formula represented a recurrent phenomenon in previous narratives). In sum, the drop of the copula at this stage does not reflect the unavailability of this verb, but rather results from the production of structures that are likely candidates for borrowing from DGS.

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