ERIC Number: ED198697
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Case Errors in German as a Foreign Language: An Experimental Examination of a Hypothesis Based on a Psycholinguistic Model of Sentence Production.
Speakers of languages without a surface case system tend, when learning German, to place predicate nominals erroneously in the accusative case when the verb is passive or the sentence governs a passive rather than an active situation. Three hypotheses are offered to explain this phenomenon: (1) the learner carries over the deep structure relations of active sentences into passive contexts; (2) the sentence position (final) at which the incorrect accusative occurs is identified by the learner as always requiring an accusative; and (3) the incorrect application of the accusative is both restricted to passive sentences and in particular to final position, i.e., case markings in final position tend to be determined exclusively on the basis of the deep structure "action + patient." Dutch and American university students were asked to make grammatical acceptability judgments on German sentences. An analysis of the results verifies hypothesis 3 against hypothesis 2. In a second experiment, the same students were asked to judqe whether the determiners in a series of sentences were correct. An analysis of the results verifies hypothesis 3 against hypothesis 1. (JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Los Angeles. Dept. of English.
Note: In its Workpapers in Teaching English as a Second Language, Volume XIII, p69-102, Dec 1979.