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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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Written German competence at the onset of the study

By assumption, Fuad’s L2 learner grammar of German at the onset of the study represents a VP grammar. There is no evidence for the availability of functional projections.

Word order. Examples (535)-(538) illustrate the diversity of word order patterns produced by Fuad in file 1. Apart from V2 patterns (535), he produces V3 formats (536), including one non-subject initial V2 construction (537), and verbless sequences (538). Interestingly, the latter example (538) represents a potential candidate for language mixing. The sequence is reminiscent of DGS-construc- tions in that (a) elements are arranged in accordance with the figure-ground principle (deer= ground, antlers= figure), and (b) the referent is “established” via the expression da (recall that we already remarked upon the use of da with this function reminiscent of referential establishment in DGS in Muhammed’s narratives). Note that a target-like equivalent expression (ein Reh mit einem Geweih auf dem Kopf, ‘a deer with antlers on his head’) makes it apparent that it is rather the order of the constituents than the prepositions chosen that render Fuad’s sequence odd.

Verb inflection. The analysis of inflectional morphology in file 1 reveals that target verb inflection is not productive at this stage. Fuad produces many nonfinite forms and verbless sequences at the beginning of the study. However, it is also worth noting that Fuad already uses the modal verb form mochte (‘wants’) as a main verb in the idiomatic expression “want to go home” (cf. (539)), and as a modal verb (cf. (540)) in combination with a finite main verb instead of an infinitive as would be required in target German. Given that there is no additional evidence for an expanded syntactic structure, we may assume that these constructions have the status of idiomatic expressions (possibly the case of (539)) or translations from an equivalent DGS expression (possibly the case of (540)). Sentence-internal adverbs occur in preverbal position in file 2 (cf. (541)) and subsequent files which suggests that main verbs fail to raise to INFL.

 
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