PLIN Seminars


Pleonastic constructions in German child (directed) speech
Sarah Faidt (Université de Basel)

2 December 2021 (12:45–13:45)
D252 (54 Grand-rue, 2nd floor)

The project aims at investigating the role of pleonastic constructions (e.g., ins Haus rein, auf dem Baum drauf) in the acquisition of spatial language in L1 German. Earlier research suggests a supporting function of pleonastic constructions in the development of spatial language (Bryant 2012) in that sense that they bridge the gap between syntactically simple particle constructions and more complex prepositional phrases. Although this construction type has been observed in previous language production studies (e.g., Harr 2012, Madlener et al. 2017), concrete figures regarding their actual frequency and development in natural language use are missing up to now. The project targets at filling this gap by analyzing longitudinal data from German child-adult interaction regarding the use of pleonastic constructions in terms of frequency of occurrence, functional and constructional features. The analysis is grounded in a Construction Grammar framework and a usage-based approach to language acquisition. Results may add deeper insights into how children master the challenging domain of spatial language in German as well as to an understanding of pleonastic constructions in a broader network of constructions.

Bryant, D. (2012). Lokalisierungsausdrücke im Erst- und Zweitspracherwerb. Typologische, ontogenetische und kognitionspsychologische Überlegungen zur Sprachförderung in DaZ. Baltmannsweiler: Schneider.
Harr, A.-K. (2012). Language-specific factors in First Language Acquisition. The Expression of Motion Events in French and German. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Madlener, K., Skoruppa, K. & Behrens, H. (2017). Gradual development of constructional complexity in German spatial language. Cognitive Linguistics 28 (4), 757–798, doi: 10.1515/cog-2016-0089.