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Further development: increasing narrative complexity

Christa’s file 3 narrative reveals her progress in the mastery of DGS. Compared with file 1, her narration of the frog story is more complex, both at the grammatical and at the narrative level. However, while some events are narrated in detail, some other remain unaccounted for (the hamster and the owl passages, for example) or are only mentioned en passant.

Syntactic complexity

Christa produces several complex sentential constructions in this narrative, which document not only her command of complex syntax, but also her progress at the narrative level, as she skilfully uses the linguistic devices available for discourse purposes, namely, (a) to recount the emotions and motives of the story characters, and (b) to make the connections between the story events apparent.

In (294b), which documents the use of target-like XV order in an embedded clause selected by the verb wish, we learn that the boy and the dog wish to go to bed because they are tired. The adverbial suddenly appearing at the beginning of this sequence in (294a) represents a stylistic means to highlight the temporal relation between this and previous narrative events. Example (295) is another interesting example, which is not only structurally sophisticated, as it involves a complex construction with the modal verb can, which is in turn selected by the verb realise; (295) is also remarkable because it provides information on the dog’s reflection about his situation after having stuck his head into the jar. Example (296), in turn, documents the choice of complex constructions with psychological verbs to recount the protagonists’ beliefs.

266 - DGS: grammatical sketch and summary of acquisition studies

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