Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


May I Quote You on That?

By Stephen Spector

A guide to English grammar and usage for the twenty-first century, pairing grammar rules with interesting and humorous quotations from American popular culture.

New from Cambridge University Press!


The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages

Edited By Peter K. Austin and Julia Sallabank

This book "examines the reasons behind the dramatic loss of linguistic diversity, why it matters, and what can be done to document and support endangered languages."

Academic Paper

Title: Domain minimization and beyond: Modeling prepositional phrase ordering
Author: Daniel Wiechmann
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Rheinische-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen
Author: Arne Lohmann
Institution: Universität Wien
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: An important account of linear ordering in syntax is John A. Hawkins' (2004) theory of cognitive efficiency and the principles of domain minimization formulated therein. In its latest formulation, the theory postulates syntactic and semantic minimization principles. With regard to the relative strength of these principles, prior research into the dynamics of these constraints has come to differing conclusions. Using the relative ordering of prepositional phrases (PPs) in English as a test phenomenon, the present study contributes to the further development of a theory of syntactic serialization through the multifactorial analysis of naturalistic data from a corpus of present-day British English. We find that lexical-semantic dependency constitutes the strongest constraint on serialization followed by the weight-related, syntactic one. More specifically, our results show that although syntactic minimization has much greater data coverage – it applies to a much larger proportion of the data – the lexical-semantic factor has a much greater effect size, thus is more seldomly violated. In addition to assessing the relative importance of the two minimization principles, we also investigate the effects of other potential codeterminants of PP order, namely the  >  >  generalization and pragmatic information status. Our results suggest that these play statistically significant but tangential roles in PP ordering.


This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 25, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page