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Interaction of syntax and discourse pragmatics in closely related languages: How native Swedes, native Germans, and Swedish-speaking learners of German start their sentences
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.
Växjö universitet.
2010 (English)In: Researching interfaces in linguistics / [ed] Folli, Raffaella & Ulbrich, Christiane, Oxford: Oxford University Press , 2010, 331-350 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates the interaction of syntax and discourse in two closely related languages, Swedish and German, and identifies language-specific distributional patterns and discourse-pragmatic differences concerning the clause-initial ‘prefield’ position of verb-second clauses. New corpus data indicate that Swedish has a much stronger tendency than German to place new information later in the clause. Swedish uses the prefield mainly for informationally given elements and expletives, whilst German regularly allows new information in clause-initial position. The stricter Swedish constraints on what can and does occur in the prefield have repercussions for L2 acquisition at the grammar-pragmatics interface. The paper discusses data from native speakers of Swedish learning German as a foreign language, showing that mastery of pure V2 syntax is well in advance of appropriate discourse-pragmatic use of that syntax. Syntactic and pragmatic transfer from Swedish results in L2 texts that are unidiomatic and not fully cohesive from a native-speaker perspective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press , 2010. 331-350 p.
National Category
Specific Languages General Language Studies and Linguistics Specific Languages Specific Languages
Research subject
Linguistics; Scandinavian Languages; German
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-112658ISBN: 978-0-19-9567264-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-112658DiVA: diva2:287310
Available from: 2010-01-18 Created: 2010-01-18 Last updated: 2016-04-13

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