Cross-linguistic investigation of argument structure Lecture 2 : Cross-linguistic corpus studies Elisabeth Verhoeven

Réalisation : 11 septembre 2017 Mise en ligne : 11 septembre 2017
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Lecture 2. Cross-linguistic corpus studies / Lundi 11 septembre – 16h à 18h – salle de Conférence, RDC bât. D

The findings in controlled speech production will be validated by a large-scale cross-linguistic corpus study (10 000 tokens per language). This study examines preferences in the choice of word order and the choice of subject in German, Greek, Turkish, and Chinese and the influence of factors that license not canonical word orders, i.e., disharmonic alignment of thematic roles with the animacy hierarchy and the referentiality scale (see Verhoeven 2015 on German; Verhoeven 2016 on Greek, Turkish, Chinese). The results reveal several differences between the languages that are traced back to their word order properties, pro-drop and the morphological strategies for passive and (anti-)causative formation. Methodological issues: sampling for cross-linguistic corpus studies, corpus design with verbs as random factors.

Suggestions for Reading

Bresnan, J. & Ford, M. 2010. Predicting syntax: Processing dative constructions in American and Australian varieties of English. Language 86(1):186-213. (

Haig, G. & Schnell, S. 2016. The discourse basis of ergativity revisited. Language 92(3): 591-618. (…)

Verhoeven, E. 2015. Thematic asymmetries do matter! A corpus study of German word order. Journal of Germanic Linguistics 27.1, 45-104.


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