Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik
Deutsche Sprache in Gegenwart und Geschichte
Ed. by Ágel, Vilmos / Feilke, Helmuth / Linke, Angelika / Lüdeling, Anke / Tophinke, Doris
CiteScore 2017: 0.16
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.164
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.806
Case is one of the grammatical categories that pose great challenges to children acquiring German, both in first and second language acquisition. The paper examines the special case of the second language acquisition of case within prepositional phrases (PPs). A prototypical German PP consists of a preposition selecting a determiner phrase (DP) whose case is governed by the prepositional head. One problem is that the case assigned by a preposition and its semantics are not related to each other, while in the case of socalled two-way prepositions, the semantics of the PP and the case within the DP are closely connected. This conflict between arbitrariness and semantically driven case assignment could pose an additional obstacle for learners of German. I have conducted an experiment in which I examined how case within PPs is acquired by 56 primary school children whose first language is not German. My study shows that the children have great difficulties regarding the dative and that the accusative is used instead very often. This overgeneralization decreases with an increase in age.
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