De plaats van het voorzetselvoorwerp | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1384-5845
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1171



This paper presents the results of a corpus study of Dutch complement PPs. On the basis of a collection of 3400 occurrences in negative sentences, the four major word order patterns (regular position, scrambling order, topicalization and extraposition) are studied, both in main and subordinate clauses, and linked to the properties of the prepositional phrases, in particular weight and definiteness. Greater weight corresponds to higher likelihood of extraposition, and definiteness to higher likelihood of scrambling and topicalization. This corresponds well with earlier studies of word order variation in Dutch, but had not been established for the class of complement PPs. Among definite phrases, PPs with so-called R-pronouns, such as ‘here-on’ and ‘thereof’ showed especially high preferences for topicalization and scrambling. Negative sentences were selected for this study to avoid cases where regular order and scrambling order could not be distinguished due to lack of adverbial elements in the middle field. The data set is temporally stratified. This made it possible to study changes over time, and the most robust finding was a continuous retreat of the scrambling order throughout the period 1700-2014.


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