At the margins of grammar | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
2004
Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1384-5845
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1171

Abstract

Abstract

This paper focuses on the variable placement of the particle of particle verb constructions in Dutch and German. In particular, the option to place the particle in first sentence position is studied in a judgment task. We asked native speakers of Dutch to judge utterances which differ with respect to the semantic transparency of the particle and with respect to the distance between particle and verb. In spite of an overall awkwardness of constructions with a fronted particle, the factors under investigation turned out to influence their well-formedness. Our observations thus raise some questions about the acceptability and the grammaticality status of such dubious structures. When comparing our results to those found by Trotzke et al. (2015), who did a similar study for German, we find that the patterns in the two languages are similar but that there are nonetheless some important differences to note. We suggest that this discrepancy has to do with the more flexible use of the first sentence position in German.

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