The Acquisition of Prefix and Particle Verbs in German: Evidence from CHILDES

Evelyn Richter

Abstract


German prefix and particle verbs differ in their morphological composition and morpho-syntactic behavior (see Zeller 2001). This project investigates errors children do (not) make in the acquisition of these verb types using semi-automatically extracted CHILDES data from one child (1.9 to 4.0). The results support our prediction that children distinguish prefix and particle verbs: Prefix verbs are not split. Perfective ge- is not inserted between prefix and root. ge- is not attached before the particle. Verb dropping only occurs with particle verbs. Contrasting stress patterns could be explored as the reason for the child’s ability to distinguish these verb types.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/exabs.v0i0.525