a1 Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
a2 University of Jena
a3 Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
This paper investigates the development of relative clauses in the speech of one German-speaking child aged 2 ; 0 to 5 ; 0. The earliest relative clauses we found in the data occur in topicalization constructions that are only a little different from simple sentences: they contain a single proposition, express the actor prior to other participants, assert new information and often occur with main-clause word order. In the course of the development, more complex relative constructions emerge, in which the relative clause is embedded in a fully-fledged main clause. We argue that German relative clauses develop in an incremental fashion from simple non-embedded sentences that gradually evolve into complex sentence constructions.
(Received December 18 2005)
(Revised January 16 2007)
c1 Addresses for correspondence: Silke Brandt & Michael Tomasello, Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionaere Anthropologie, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.