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Head adjacency and the Danish dative alternation

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The production of the Danish dative alternation is investigated in a corpus study, which shows that animacy, definiteness, pronominality and length all influence word order. The study demonstrates, however, that definiteness and animacy have a weaker influence than pronominality and length. Two subsequent behavioural experiments investigate whether length had an impact on comprehension. A rating experiment showed no significant difference between short-before-long and long-before-short orders. A speeded acceptability judgment experiment showed a reaction time difference between the same two orders iff the length difference is two words. To account for the absence of such a difference when the length difference is four words, we suggest that the increased predictability of the second DP reduces the cost of having a long argument before a short one.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStudia Linguistica
Pages (from-to)191-213
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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