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Luisteren schrijvers naar hun innerlijke stem? De invloed van ritmische factoren op de woordvolgorde in geschreven werkwoordelijke eindgroepen Korte versie (met links naar uitgebreide versie)

Author(s): Sutter, Gert de | Speelman, Dirk | Geeraerts, Dirk

ISSN 1567-6633

Volume: 2007;
Date: 2007;
Original page

The present paper examines whether prosodic determinants influence the choice of grammatical alternatives in written language use. More particularly, it is investigated whether the order of the participle and the finite verb in Dutch written verb clusters is affected by the so-called Principle of Rhythmic Alternation (PRA), i.e. the tendency to avoid sequences of stressed syllables as well as sequences of unstressed syllables. Based on a large data set of 2390 corpus instances, the first series of analyses investigates the effect of several morphosyntactic factors that are assumed to correlate with prosodic features. The results show that word order indeed is influenced by prosodic characteristics. However, given the morphosyntactic nature of the factors, this is considered indirect evidence for the PRA. In the second series of analyses, several(direct) prosodic analyses are conducted, more particularly by measuring the distance between the participial stress and the stressed syllables on the last preverbal / first postverbal word. Again, the results confirm the existence of a prosodic principle (this is direct evidence for the PRA). In the third series of analyses, the results of the indirect and direct analyses are compared. What emerges is that the results of the indirect and direct analyses must be interpreted differently: whereas the results of the direct analyses can be subsumed under a prosodic explanatory principle, the results of the indirect analyses need an alternative interpretation. The interpretation that is offered in the present paper, and which has to be considered a working hypothesis for future research, links the effect of the morphosyntactic factors to the principle of 'informational weight': language users choose a specific grammatical variant on the basis of the informational weight of the neighbouring constituents of the verb cluster.
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