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Free word order in Germanic: Insights from object order in Middle Low German 


Zurück zum Heft: Linguistische Berichte Heft 244
EUR 14,90


The present paper contributes to the current debate on free word order in Germanic by investigating the effect of various factors on the order of dative and accusative arguments in clauseinternal position in a corpus collected from Middle Low German (c. 1250–1650). The factors tested are information structure, definiteness, animacy, complexity (syntactic weight), scope, and prosody. The analysis reveals that the assumed factors fail to produce a significant increase of ACC-DAT orders but systematically trigger DAT-ACC in the surface, which (in line with Müller's (1999) approach) amounts to the conclusion that DAT-ACC is actually a derived but unmarked order satisfying a variety of features, while ACC-DAT order is resistant to any of the triggers, thus a basic one.