Developmental profile: Simon

Simon’s early narratives typically consist of a series of short clauses. The main events of the picture story are summarised, with occasional reference to the characters’ emotions and interactions (via direct speech). As of file 3, the stories increase in length (from 35 propositions in file 1 to 54 in file 3). At the same time, the written productions reflect an increasing narrative complexity as the story events are narrated in more detail and temporal and spatial relations are expressed. This development contrasts with a slower progress in the attainment of the target properties at the levels of morphology and syntax when compared with other participants in this study.

The developmental profile established for Simon indicates that the elementary structural domain (VP structure) available at the onset of the study is not expanded during the time span covered by the present study (cf. Table 4.12). Nevertheless, it is important to note that variation in sentential arrangements becomes apparent after an initial phase characterised by the adherence to a rigid sentence pattern (SVX) and the frequent use of the copula as a connector between subject and verb complements: new elements appear in the left periphery (deriving V3 constructions), the preposition auf is used to mark relations between constituents in a clause, and clauses are combined to express more complex meanings. This variation shows that Simon pools his resources, including his knowledge of DGS, to overcome lexical and structural gaps in his written German. So, while there is no indication that the elementary structure is expanded, the variation observed indicates that learning processes are at work and that his learner grammar might be in a reorganisation phase by the end of the recording time.

Table 4.12: Simon’s German profile.



[no evidence]

Embedded clauses

[no evidence]



[no evidence]

(preverbal non-subjects)

Subject-verb agreement

[no evidence]

Verb raising, finiteness distinction

[no evidence]

Table 4.12: continued


[Language contact]

[files 3-5]

(word order, auf, lexicon)

[file 5]

Der Junge und der Hund suchen auf the boy and the dog search on ein Frosch nicht find. a frog not find

[file 4]

Der Frosch das ein Glas kletter the frog the one glass climb

SVX schema

[files 1-2]

[file 1]

Max und Timo ist trauig. Max and Timo is sad

[file 1]

Timo gehen ein Loch Timo goes one hole

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