Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Amyisms: Amy and auxiliary do

Amy seems to be getting the hang of the difference between say and tell (which are the same verb in German, cognate with say): the other day, she said something wrongly, then corrected herself.

On the other hand, she still hasn’t internalised all the rules for auxiliary do: when (not) to use it and what forms it goes with.

Common errors are:

  • Using do not with the infinitive of the main verb, but with an inflected form (“It doesn’t works”)
  • Using do for negating even verbs which normally simply take not/-n’t, such as auxiliary verbs (“You don’t may come in”)
  • As a special case of the preceding one, using do with do, if you want to ask a negative question (“Why do you don’t know?”)
  • Using do to form the (positive, non-emphatic) past tense of verbs, especially ones with an irregular past; sometimes with infinitive (“At the circus, I did see an elephant!”), sometimes with inflected past (“Yesterday, I did went to school”)

She also tends to say “I were” instead of “I was”; getting the correct form isn’t helped both by the fact that it’s “you were” (and the “I” and “you” forms are identical for essentially all forms of essentially all verbs) and that it’s “ich war” in German.

She’s also starting to show more disfluencies where she’s visibly struggling to produce a coherent sentence: her lack of vocabulary and remaining unfamiliarity with the finer points of syntax make it difficult for her to always express what she wants to say. I wonder whether she’ll get to a point where her desire to communicate quickly and clearly is stronger than her desire to speak to me in English, and will switch to German. Ah well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

In other language news, she may be ready for having chapter books read to her; she has always strongly preferred picture books so far, so it’s sometimes been difficult to find appropriate books in the library’s English section.

But now she occasionally listens to stories on CD, and the other day, she let me read a few chapters of Yuit and, on another occasion, also some of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Tags: amy, amyisms
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