Exploring the acquisition of German verb morphology by instructed learners

2017-05-03T01:47:05Z (GMT) by Boss, Bettina
Research into the acquisition of L2 German word order has provided strong evidence for a sequence of incremental stages of development. Studies of the acquisition of German verb morphology so far have focused on establishing a correlation between the acquisition of word order and of verb morphology, neglecting the question how verb morphology per se is acquired. This article discusses the latter question on the basis of a qualitative analysis of longitudinal written data produced by 15 anglophone university students. It confirms some of the results of earlier studies involving tutored learners of German, such as Pienemann (1987) and Diehl et al. (2000), and provides evidence for a sequence of acquisition, as well as for a more holistic development for certain verb classes. Although most of the subjects produce perfect tense before preterite, the article suggests that teaching the preterite before the perfect tense may be feasible. It also draws attention to the importance of morphosyntactic features affecting subject-verb agreement, and calls for more research in that area. Copyright 2008 Bettina Boss. No part of this article may be reproduced by any means without the written consent of the publisher.