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From V2 to V2: Swedish learners of German

Bohnacker, Ute LU (2005) In Proceedings of the 29th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development 1. p.73-84
Abstract
Germanic verb second (V2) is often said to be difficult for L2ers irrespective of their L1. Recent work on Swedish/German (e.g. vulnerable C-domain (Platzack 2001), processability (Håkansson, Pienemann & Sayehli 2001)) claims that speakers of a V2-language learning another V2-language start with a non-V2 interlanguage grammar, i.e. they don’t transfer V2, but follow a universal developmental path of verb placement. The author contests this claim, presenting quantified new oral production data from 6 post-puberty L1 Swedish ab-initio learners (4 & 9 months of exposure to classroom German). She documents extremely early productive use of non-subject-initial V2 declarative clauses after only 4 months, at a time when the informants’... (More)
Germanic verb second (V2) is often said to be difficult for L2ers irrespective of their L1. Recent work on Swedish/German (e.g. vulnerable C-domain (Platzack 2001), processability (Håkansson, Pienemann & Sayehli 2001)) claims that speakers of a V2-language learning another V2-language start with a non-V2 interlanguage grammar, i.e. they don’t transfer V2, but follow a universal developmental path of verb placement. The author contests this claim, presenting quantified new oral production data from 6 post-puberty L1 Swedish ab-initio learners (4 & 9 months of exposure to classroom German). She documents extremely early productive use of non-subject-initial V2 declarative clauses after only 4 months, at a time when the informants’ interlanguage syntax elsewhere is nontargetlike (e.g. head-initial VPs (VO)), cf. Bohnacker 2005. She also documents a categorical difference between informants depending on whether they have prior knowledge of L2 English. Swedish informants acquiring German as their first L2 produce 100% targetlike V2, but informants with substantial previous exposure to English only produce 45% targetlike V2 in their L3 German, also allowing nontargetlike V3 (Adv-SVX). This suggests that there is no universal developmental route to L2/L3 German verb placement, that learners make use of their V2-L1 syntax (Swedish), and that knowledge of a non-V2 language (English) can make it initially more difficult to acquire another V2 language (German). The findings are interpreted as strong empirical support for transfer approaches to the nonnative acquisition of syntax (e.g. Schwartz & Sprouse 1994, 1996). (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
in
Proceedings of the 29th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development
editor
Brugos, Alejna; Clark-Cotton, Manuella and Ha, Seungwan
volume
1
pages
73 - 84
publisher
Cascadilla Press
external identifiers
  • WOS:000229579500007
ISBN
1-57473-054-1; 1-57473-054-1
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
eff57af6-5c63-47ed-a0cc-7e1f20143684 (old id 536849)
date added to LUP
2007-09-13 12:47:03
date last changed
2016-04-16 07:51:39
@misc{eff57af6-5c63-47ed-a0cc-7e1f20143684,
  abstract     = {Germanic verb second (V2) is often said to be difficult for L2ers irrespective of their L1. Recent work on Swedish/German (e.g. vulnerable C-domain (Platzack 2001), processability (Håkansson, Pienemann & Sayehli 2001)) claims that speakers of a V2-language learning another V2-language start with a non-V2 interlanguage grammar, i.e. they don’t transfer V2, but follow a universal developmental path of verb placement. The author contests this claim, presenting quantified new oral production data from 6 post-puberty L1 Swedish ab-initio learners (4 & 9 months of exposure to classroom German). She documents extremely early productive use of non-subject-initial V2 declarative clauses after only 4 months, at a time when the informants’ interlanguage syntax elsewhere is nontargetlike (e.g. head-initial VPs (VO)), cf. Bohnacker 2005. She also documents a categorical difference between informants depending on whether they have prior knowledge of L2 English. Swedish informants acquiring German as their first L2 produce 100% targetlike V2, but informants with substantial previous exposure to English only produce 45% targetlike V2 in their L3 German, also allowing nontargetlike V3 (Adv-SVX). This suggests that there is no universal developmental route to L2/L3 German verb placement, that learners make use of their V2-L1 syntax (Swedish), and that knowledge of a non-V2 language (English) can make it initially more difficult to acquire another V2 language (German). The findings are interpreted as strong empirical support for transfer approaches to the nonnative acquisition of syntax (e.g. Schwartz & Sprouse 1994, 1996).},
  author       = {Bohnacker, Ute},
  editor       = {Brugos, Alejna and Clark-Cotton, Manuella and Ha, Seungwan},
  isbn         = {1-57473-054-1; 1-57473-054-1},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {73--84},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xc7d91e0)},
  series       = {Proceedings of the 29th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development},
  title        = {From V2 to V2: Swedish learners of German},
  volume       = {1},
  year         = {2005},
}