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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Rood, groen, corpus! Een taalgebruiksgebaseerde analyse van woordvolgordevariatie in tweeledige werkwoordelijke eindgroepen [A usage-based analysis of word order variation in Dutch bipartite clause final verb clusters] Add Dissertation
Author: Gert De Sutter Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Université Catholique de Louvain, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2005
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Dutch
Director(s): Dirk Speelman
Dirk Geeraerts

Abstract: In this dissertation, one of the most intriguing types of syntactic
variation in Dutch is studied, viz. word order variation in bipartite verb
clusters, consisting of a past participle and the auxiliary verb. In such a
context, the participle can either precede or follow the auxiliary verb.

The goal of the research is to assess the mechanisms that influence the
choice for participle-first or participle-final word order in contemporary
Dutch, and to answer the question why both word order variants are
available. On the basis of language data, extracted from two representative
corpora, the effect of a set of language-internal and language-external
factors on the choice of word order is studied empirically and
quantitatively. In order to organize things properly, the different
language-internal and language-external factors are classified along 4
dimensions: a contextual dimension, a prosodic dimension, a semantic
dimension and a psycholinguistic dimension.

Along the contextual dimension, the influence of the factors region and
register is studied. The results show that participle-first word order is
used more frequently in Belgian Dutch than in Netherlandic Dutch.
Furthermore, the choice of word order is influenced by the language mode,
the degree of interaction and the degree of editorial control.

Along the prosodic dimension, the effect of the factor accent distribution
before, in and after the verbal cluster is discussed. More specifically, it
was investigated whether the choice of word order is influenced by the
avoidance of an accent clash, the avoidance of a long interval with
unaccented syllables and the protection of the so-called 'flat hat' pattern
(which is one of the basic intonation contours in Dutch). All variables
that were scrutinized against this background confirm the existence of such
a prosodic principle.

Along the semantic dimension, the effect of the factor status of the past
participle is studied, i.e. the distinction between adjectivally used
participles and verbally used participles. The results show that adjectival
participles occur more often in participle-first word order than verbal
participles, but, contrary to what is traditionally assumed, it is not
impossible that adjectival participles show up in participle-final word order.

Along the psycholinguistic dimension, the role of syntactic priming and
participial frequency is scrutinized. The results show that word order is
determined by the word order chosen in a previous verbal cluster, and that
highly frequent participles occur in participle-final word order more often
than participles that are less frequent.

Next to these individual empirical analyses, we also performed a logistic
regression analysis, which weighs the effect of all the factors against
each other and computes the explanatory and predictive power. The results
shows that all investigated factors, except for the prosodic factors, have
a statistically significant effect on the choice of word order. Based on
these results, a linguistic explanation for the coexistence of both word
order variants was formulated. It is argued that at least part of the
observed variation can be explained in terms of production pressure: the
higher the production pressure, the more participle-first word order is
chosen, i.e. the higher the temporal restrictions on the phonological,
prosodic and/or grammatical encoding of the intended message, the more
participle-first word order is chosen.