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


  • Evelyn Richter Eastern Michigan University



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.

Author Biography

  • Evelyn Richter, Eastern Michigan University
    Graduate student (for M.A.)