AbstractThe paper focusses on the early production of aber- (‘but’-) clauses in German L1-acquisition. It aims to explain the delay in the realization of finite clause structure in aber-clauses reported in a previous study. Delayed realization of finite clause structure was also reported for clauses containing the additive particle auch (‘also/too’) by other researchers. It has been attributed to the information-structural properties of auch-clauses. Following this approach, we investigated the information-structural properties of the aber-clauses documented in the longitudinal data of five monolingual children (age range: 1;11–2;10) from the first documented aber-production to the emergence of finite clause structure in aber-clauses. Information-structural complexity is measured in terms of number and quality of the information-structural patterns of contrastive information in the aber-clause and the explicitness of the contrast realization. Analyses reveal a change in preference from topic-including contrasts to non-topic-including ones, that is, comment-located contrasts as well as a change from explicit to implicit contrast realization. We argue that the delayed realization of finite clause structure in aber-clauses is caused by an initial concentration on the complex content relations raised by the requirement of information-structural alignment of at least two different constituents as well as the anticipating of an implicit proposition.
Linguistics Vanguard – de Gruyter
Published: Nov 3, 2017
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