What's hard? : Quantitative evidence for difficult constructions in German learner data
- Our study is concerned with the identification of ‘difficult’ structure s in the acquisition of a foreign language, which will shed light on theoretical considerations of L2 processing. We argue that – compared to simple vocabulary items or abstract syntactic patterns – structures that contain lexical material as well as categorial variables are especially difficult to acquire. The difficulty level for particular patterns is shown to depend on surface invariability but not on the syntactic categories within which target patterns are embedded. As an example we study the distribution of certain structures which are underused by L2 German learners.