Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton
pne

More on Amy's language

Random points on Amy's language.

She seems to have only one definite article in German: die. (I wonder whether this particular choice, from among der die das, is influenced by the fact that the plural definite article (all genders) is die and/or by the fact that stressed the in English sounds like thee.) She does have a lexical item das, but it seems to be strictly demonstrative: that.

She typically has zero copula, so she'd feel right at home in, say, Russian. For example, she'd say Ich satt or I full at the end of a meal, or Das — Amy Biicher ("that — Amy books" = "those are Amy's books"). (With her /i:/ für /y:/ she sounds like somebody from East Prussia!) That also extends to the present continuous(?) construction in English, e.g. Mummy still s'eeping! "Mummy is still sleeping".

She pronounces Poppy Pig as something like Poppy Ti'. I wonder why she has no problems with [p] in "Poppy" but has no [p] in "pig". My current guess is that she acquired "pig" at an earlier stage in her language development when her main stop was [t] (and both [p] further front and [k] further back tended to become [t]) and that she is substituting that word in the older phonological form even though she could now pronounce it properly. (Or maybe the velar at the end of the word is pulling the bilabial further back? Though it sounds like a glottal stop to me when she says it.) Conversely, "Rabbit" (from Winnie-the-Pooh) sounds like "rebbip"; here, the [t] is assimilated to the preceding bilabials into a bilabial [p].)

Another example from right now: Tannce open my tartan peas? < "Kanns(t du) [= can (you), in German] open my curtain, please?" followed by Tann ich ... < "(Dann) kann ich ..." ("(then) I can ..."). I forgot which verb she used, but the word order is also curious, since German has the verb before the subject usually only if something comes even earlier, such as "then". (Aka "V2 order".)

Amy has "eat" as a noun, as in My eat — hot. This is almost certainly from German, where "das Essen" is not only a verbal noun ("the (act of) eating") but also "the food".

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