When information structure exploits syntax: The relation between the loss of VO and scrambling in Dutch


Struik, Tara ; Schoenmakers, Gert-Jan


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022226722000172
URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of...
Additional URL: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/360411872...
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-634379
Document Type: Article
Year of publication Online: 2022
The title of a journal, publication series: Journal of Linguistics : JL
Volume: tba
Issue number: tba
Page range: 1-36
Place of publication: London [u.a.]
Publishing house: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0022-2267 , 1469-7742
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Anglistik IV - Anglistische Linguistik/Diachronie (Trips 2006-)
Pre-existing license: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 400 Language, linguistics
439 Other Germanic languages
Abstract: This paper addresses the relation between two types of word order variation in two stages of Dutch: OV/VO variation in historical Dutch and scrambling in present-day Dutch. Information structural considerations influence both types of word order variation, and we demonstrate by means of a comprehensive corpus study that they have a comparable pattern: given objects tend to appear earlier in the sentence than new objects. We infer from this that the two types of word order variation are diachronically related. Our findings support an analysis of scrambling as object movement from a uniformly head-initial base via the specifier of VP to the specifier of vP. We argue that historical Dutch allows spell out of the object in its postverbal base position, but that this possibility was eventually lost. Consequently, the boundary between the given and new domains shifts from the verb to the adverbial.

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