Chapter published in:Cross-linguistic Influence in Bilingualism: In honor of Aafke Hulk
Edited by Elma Blom, Leonie Cornips and Jeannette Schaeffer
[Studies in Bilingualism 52] 2017
► pp. 207–230
Subtle aspectual differences in the L2 acquisition of German
The case of the present tense and pseudo-progressive am + infinitive and beim + infinitive constructions
We examine the acquisition of progressivity in the German simple present tense (GPT) and related constructions by English natives of L2 German, under the guise of the Feature Reassembly Hypothesis. German lacks an explicit gerundial form; the AM + infinitive (am) and BEIM + infinitive (beim) constructions express progressivity, along with the GPT. Although semantically the am and beim constructions map to the English copula + gerund, their unique syntax creates grammaticality differences. We employ three experiments testing (1) the acquisition of the aspectual properties of the GPT, and knowledge of the (2) semantic distribution of, and (3) syntax of am and beim. Data from a control group (n = 25) and adult L2s (n = 20) suggest adult L2 feature reassembly is possible, albeit complicated.
Keywords: grammatical aspect, progressivity, adult second language acquisition, SLA, feature reassembly, German
Published online: 19 December 2017
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