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Developmental profile: Christa

Christa’s early narratives are characterised by the use of short clauses to sketch the main events of the picture story. Text length increases from about 20 propositions in files 1 and 2 to about 60 propositions in file 3. This increase in text length reflects Christa’s more detailed accounts of the story events and their relations as of file 3. Subsequent texts reflect a growing repertoire of structural and lexical means used creatively for narrative purposes.

Christa exhibits quite a liberal use of word order in her German prior to the expansion of the VP through an additional IP layer in file 4. By assumption, VP initial and final structures coexist in this file, following an initial adherence to a surface SVX schema in file 1 (cf. Table 4.18). Patterns reminiscent of DGS constructions indicate that Christa pools her resources at the time. After the implementation of the IP, and the fixation of the VP headedness to the target-like final value, Christa continues to produce sentential patterns that are potential candidates for borrowing from DGS at the lexical level and seem to have the status of (unanalysed) idiomatic expressions. The target V2 constraint remains a task to be tackled by the end of the recording time considered here. So does verb inflection, as the relative frequency of errors in this domain remains relatively high by the end of the recording time (about 50%).

Table 4.18: Christa’s German profile.



[no sufficient evidence]

[file 5]

(several instances of the same question) Frosch Wo bist du. frog where are you

Embedded clauses

[no sufficient evidence]

[file 5]

(one instance only)

... bis beide schlafen sind. ... until both sleep are


[language contact]

(lexicon, auf)

[file 4]

er bescheid auf Junge. he information on boy

V2 (preverbal non-subjects)

[no evidence]

Verb raising (main verbs)

[file 5]

Klaff fallt runter. Klaff falls down

[file 5]

Klaff steckt voll in Glas. Klaff sticks fully in jar

Verb raising (aux)

[file 4]

Er hat ein froschen angenommen. he has a frog accepted


[language contact]

(word order, loan translations, auf)

[file 2]

der Hund Kopf im Glas. the dog head in.the glass

[file 2]

Bied sehen auf Fenster both look at window

[file 2]

auf Wiesen Sock Bieden ruft. on prairie (hive- bee) calls

Word order variation

[files 2-3 ] (no evidence of verb raising)

SVX schema

(VP headedness initial)

[file 1]

Jung klettern auf dem ein Felsen. boy climbs on the a rock

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