Advanced

The Clause-initial Position in L2 German Declaratives: Transfer of Information Structure

Bohnacker, Ute LU and Rosen, Christina (2008) In Studies in Second Language Acquisition 30(4). p.511-538
Abstract
This article investigates the information structure of verb-second (V2) declaratives in Swedish, German, and nonnative German. Even though almost any type of element can occur in the so-called prefield, the clause-initial preverbal position of V2 declaratives, we have found language-specific patterns in native-speaker corpora: The frequencies of prefield constituent types differ substantially between German and Swedish, and Swedish postpones new (rhematic) information and instead fills the prefield with given (thematic) elements and elements of no or low informational value (e.g., expletives) to a far greater extent than German. We compare Swedish learners of German to native controls matched for age and genre (Bohnacker, 2005, 2006;... (More)
This article investigates the information structure of verb-second (V2) declaratives in Swedish, German, and nonnative German. Even though almost any type of element can occur in the so-called prefield, the clause-initial preverbal position of V2 declaratives, we have found language-specific patterns in native-speaker corpora: The frequencies of prefield constituent types differ substantially between German and Swedish, and Swedish postpones new (rhematic) information and instead fills the prefield with given (thematic) elements and elements of no or low informational value (e.g., expletives) to a far greater extent than German. We compare Swedish learners of German to native controls matched for age and genre (Bohnacker, 2005, 2006; Rosen, 2006). These learners master the syntactic properties of V2 but start their sentences in nonnative ways. They over-apply the Swedish principle of rheme later in their second language German, indicating first language (L1) transfer at the interface of syntax and information structure, especially for structures that are frequent in the L1. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Studies in Second Language Acquisition
volume
30
issue
4
pages
511 - 538
publisher
Cambridge University Press
external identifiers
  • wos:000260935800004
  • scopus:55549144026
ISSN
1470-1545
DOI
10.1017/S0272263108080741
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e147b1e1-54d3-4497-9ba8-c3cde235840d (old id 1308040)
date added to LUP
2009-03-19 14:41:35
date last changed
2017-05-07 03:59:02
@article{e147b1e1-54d3-4497-9ba8-c3cde235840d,
  abstract     = {This article investigates the information structure of verb-second (V2) declaratives in Swedish, German, and nonnative German. Even though almost any type of element can occur in the so-called prefield, the clause-initial preverbal position of V2 declaratives, we have found language-specific patterns in native-speaker corpora: The frequencies of prefield constituent types differ substantially between German and Swedish, and Swedish postpones new (rhematic) information and instead fills the prefield with given (thematic) elements and elements of no or low informational value (e.g., expletives) to a far greater extent than German. We compare Swedish learners of German to native controls matched for age and genre (Bohnacker, 2005, 2006; Rosen, 2006). These learners master the syntactic properties of V2 but start their sentences in nonnative ways. They over-apply the Swedish principle of rheme later in their second language German, indicating first language (L1) transfer at the interface of syntax and information structure, especially for structures that are frequent in the L1.},
  author       = {Bohnacker, Ute and Rosen, Christina},
  issn         = {1470-1545},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {511--538},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {Studies in Second Language Acquisition},
  title        = {The Clause-initial Position in L2 German Declaratives: Transfer of Information Structure},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0272263108080741},
  volume       = {30},
  year         = {2008},
}