Word order in Maria’s narratives
Word order in Maria’s narratives complies largely with the constraints of the target German grammar. Figure 4.10 (cf. also Table D-3 in Appendix D) provides an overview of main clause verb placement in Maria’s narratives. We can see that V2 clearly predominates. Worthy of mention is also the low incidence of verb drop (only two verbless constructions in file 1), as well as the absence of target-deviant SOV main clause patterns. Unlike other participants, word order in Maria’s narrative does not adhere to a rigid SVX pattern. What is more, we can glean from Figure 4.10 that Maria already produces XVS patterns as of file 1. Non-subject initial V2 patterns without subject drop are produced at a rate between 6.0 and 21.9% in files 1-5. In addition, we might consider that Maria also produces verb subject-sequences and non-subject initial sequences with subject drop. In file 5, for example, the frequency of XVS patterns amounts to 15.2, whereas VS formats make up 12.1% and XVX 21.2% of the main clauses produced. The proportion of V3 patterns in turn remains relatively low in the first three files, between 8.1% in file 1 and 5.1% in file 3, raising dramatically to a percentage of 23.3 in file 4 before it drops to zero in file 5. In the course of the next sections, we shall have a closer look at this variation, which we assume is bound to the implementation of the V2 constraint, as it has also been observed in the development of other (advanced) L2 German learner grammars.
Figure 4.10: Main clause verb placement in Maria’s narratives.
Turning to complex constructions, we can see in Figure 4.11 that Maria produces nearly no embedded clauses introduced by a conjunction. However, she produces several complex structures with unintroduced subordinated clauses (not covered in Figure 4.11). The relative frequency of complex constructions involving coordinated clauses increases as of file 3, with a relative proportion varying between 4.9 and 20% in files 1-5 (13.2% in file 5).
Figure 4.11: Relative frequency of main (MC), embedded (EC) and coordinated (CC) clauses in Maria’s narratives.