LINGUIST List 9.525

Fri Apr 3 1998

Qs: L2 for Infants,German Verbs,Motherese/Sign Lang

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  1. William Byrne, L2 input for infants
  2. slodah, separable verbs in German
  3. Magic, motherese in signed languages

Message 1: L2 input for infants

Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998 13:11:52 -0800 (PST)
From: William Byrne <>
Subject: L2 input for infants

Can anyone give me research info. or first hand knowledge of what
happnes when an adult who has learned a second language speaks that
language to his or her child during early childhood?

Assume the adult has near-native fluency.

In short, how "native" will the child's knowledge of this language be
later on given that the input isreceived from a non-native speaker?

Thanks so much.

-WIlliam Byrne
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Message 2: separable verbs in German

Date: Fri, 03 Apr 98 09:19:01 -0500
From: slodah <slodahPO-Box.McGill.CA>
Subject: separable verbs in German

To anybody who has worked on German separable verbs.

I'm trying to find literature on the reasons for the word order of
separable verbs in German. In particular I'm interesed in the two
following questions:

i) Why is it possible that German prefixes are prefixes in some cases
and are separated from the verb in other cases, while the same type of
constituent always follows the verb in English. Considering the fact
that German and English IPs and VPs have a differing
structure, i.e. German IPs and VPs are head-final, while
English IPs and VPs are head-initial, this may be a starting
point for an explanation. Also it may be possible that the
separation/prefixation may have an influence on the meaning of the

ii) Why is it that the German finit verb needs to be separated from
the "prefix" while this doesn't seem to be the case for English unless
the inserted constituent is a personal pronoun in which case it too
has to be inserted between the finite verb and the preposition?

Examples illustrating question ii)

The German finit verb has to be separated form the prefix:

a. Valerie macht [das Licht, das auf dem Tisch im Nachbarzimmer
steht,] aus.
 Valerie makes the Light, that on the table in next-door-room
stands, out.
b. Valerie macht [das Licht] aus.
 'Valerie makes the light off.
c. Valerie macht [es] aus.
 Valerie makes it off.
d.*Valerie [macht aus] das Licht.
 *Valerie makes off the light.
e.* Valerie [macht aus] es.
 *Valerie makes off it.
 * Eugene turns off it.

The English finite verb and preposition do not need to be separated:

a. Eugene turns the light off
b. Eugene turns off the light.
...unless the inserted constituent is a personal pronoun:
c. Eugene turns it off.
d. *Eugene turns off it.
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Message 3: motherese in signed languages

Date: Fri, 03 Apr 1998 11:50:11 -0600 (CST)
From: Magic <>
Subject: motherese in signed languages

I am in the middle of a study concerning the universality of
motherese, but I have been completely unsucessful in finding any
research on motherese in signed languages. Does anyone know of any?

Thanks in advance.

Annie McCabe
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