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Hamburg 2007

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Published on September 14, 2007

Author: Alien

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Cross-linguistic asymmetries in the positioning of subordinate clauses:  Cross-linguistic asymmetries in the positioning of subordinate clauses Holger Diessel University of Jena holger.diessel@uni-jena.de http://www.holger-diessel.de/ Greenberg’s word order correlations:  Greenberg’s word order correlations Typology of subordinate clauses:  Typology of subordinate clauses Relative clauses Complement clauses Adverbial clauses SUB-clauses are dependent categories:  SUB-clauses are dependent categories Relative clauses are dependent categories of a noun (phrase). Complement clauses are dependent categories of a verb (phrase). Adverbial clauses are dependent categories of the main clause or main clause predicate. Consistent ordering:  Consistent ordering Relative clauses:  Relative clauses (Dryer 1992) Relative clauses:  Relative clauses (1) English That’s the book [that I was looking for]. (2) Japanese (Keenan 1985: 339) Watasi wa [sono otoko ga tataita] inu o miru. I TOP that man SUBJ struck dog OBJ see ‘I see the dog which that man struck.’ (3) Persian (Comrie 1989: 147) Mardi [ke bolandqadd bud] juje-ra kost. Man that tall was chicken-ACC killed ‘The man that was tall killed the chicken.’ Complement clauses:  Complement clauses (cf. Grosu and Thompson 1977; Dryer 1980) Complement clauses:  Complement clauses (2) Uzbek (Noonan 1985: 85) Xotin [bu odam joja-ni ogirladi deb] dedi. woman this man chicken-OBJ stole COMP said ‘The woman said that this man stole the chicken.’ (3) Persian (Mahootian 1997: 30) mi-dunest-æm [ke dir mi-res-i] Dur-knew-1SG COMP late DUR-arrive-2SG ‘I knew that you’d arrive late.’ (1) English Peter saw [that Mary went into the store]. Adverbial clauses:  Adverbial clauses (2) Japanese (Kuno 1978: 22) [Bukka ga agatta node], minna ga komatte iru. Price SUBJ rose since all SUBJ suffering are ‘Because process have gone up, all are suffering.’ (1) English a. We left [when it started to rain]. b. [When it started to rain] we left. Adverbial clauses:  Adverbial clauses (Diessel 2001) Summary:  Summary Hypothesis:  Hypothesis The positioning of subordinate clauses is motivated by competing functional and cognitive forces. Processing:  Processing PP P DET A N in the blue box PP P DET N A box blue the in PP P DET A N the blue box in Left-branching Right-branching Mixed-branching Hawkins 1994, 2004:  Hawkins 1994, 2004 Structures woth consistent branching directions are easier to process than structures with mixed left- and right-branching because these structures have a short recognition domain. The recognition domain is defined by the number of words that must be parsed in order to access all immediate constituents of a phrase, once the parser has recognized the mother node of the phrase. The mother node is recognized based on specific elements in the parse string that allows the parser to uniquely identify the mother node of a phrase. Recognition domain:  Recognition domain VP PP V NP P an old friend [with played] VP V PP P NP [played with] an old friend IC to word ratio: 2/2 = 1 IC to word ratio: 2/2 = 1 Recognition domain:  Recognition domain VP PP V P NP [with an old friend played] VP V PP NP P [played an old friend with] IC to word ratio: 2/4 = .5 IC to word ratio: 2/4 = .5 Hypotheses:  Hypotheses The preference for a short recognition domain is one of the factors that motivates the positioning of subordinate clauses. The asymmetries in the positioning of subordinate clauses arise from competing forces that override the processing preference for a short recognition domain. Relative clauses:  Relative clauses Relative clauses:  Relative clauses VP NP V SREL NP NP V [whoi is sleeping] the mani (I)-saw VP NP V NP SREL NP V the mani [whoi is sleeping] (I)-saw Relative clauses:  Relative clauses NPi [ whoi …… ] b. [whoi … …] NPi Relative clauses:  Relative clauses In head-final languages relative clauses show a mixed pattern because their position is motivated by two competing forces: The parsing preference for consistent branching directions favors prenominal relative clauses. The preference for (anaphoric) filler-gap relationships favors postnominal relative clauses. Relative clauses:  Relative clauses Japanese (Clancy, Lee, and Zoh 1986: 247) Zoo-ga [kirin-o taoshi-ta] shika-o nade-ta. elephant-SUBJ giraffe-OBJ knock-PAST deer-OBJ pat-PAST The elephant patted the deer that knocked down the giraffe. Zoo-ga kirin-o taoshi-ta]. elephant-SUBJ giraffe-OBJ knock-PAST The elephant knocked down the giraffe.. Complement clauses:  Complement clauses Complement clauses:  Complement clauses (1) Persian (Mahootian 1997: 30) mi-dunest-æm [ke dir mi-res-i] Dur-knew-1SG COMP late DUR-arrive-2SG ‘I knew that you’d arrive late.’ (2) Uzbek (Noonan 1985: 85) Xotin [bu odam joja-ni ogirladi deb] dedi. woman this man chicken-OBJ stole COMP said ‘The woman said that this man stole the chicken.’ Complement clauses:  Complement clauses a. V [ that ……… ]OBJ common b. V [……… that ]OBJ rare Complement clauses:  Complement clauses a. V [ that ……… ]OBJ common b. V [……… that ]OBJ rare c. [ ……… that ]OBJ V common d. [ that ……… ]OBJ V andgt; V [ that ……….]OBJ Adverbial clauses:  Adverbial clauses Adverbial clauses:  Adverbial clauses (Diessel 2005) Adverbial clauses:  Adverbial clauses a. [ ……… ]MAIN [ when………]SUB common b. [ ……… ]MAIN [……… when ]SUB rare Adverbial clauses:  Adverbial clauses a. [ ……… ]MAIN [ when………]SUB common b. [ ……… ]MAIN [……… when ]SUB rare c. [……… when ]SUB [ ……… ]MAIN common d. [ when………]SUB [………]MAIN common Adverbial clauses:  Adverbial clauses Initial adverbial clauses are commonly used to provide a thematic ground for the interpretation of subsequent clauses (cf. Chafe 1984; Thompson and Longacre 1985). (1) [When we arrived in Hamburg], we took a taxi from the airport to the hotel, checked in, took a shower and had dinner. Complex sentences with initial adverbial clauses are particular constructions that function to organize the transition between discourse topics. Adverbial clauses:  Adverbial clauses Conversation: χ2 = 21.65; p andlt; .001 Fiction: χ2 = 26.53; p andlt; .001 Academic prose: χ2 = 20.44; p andlt; .001 Diessel 2005 Conditional clauses:  (1) If you have a large garden with a lot of trees you should gather your own supply, otherwise leaves have to be acquired from somewhere else. [ICE-GB] Conditional clauses Conditional clauses:  otherwise If you have a garden with lots of trees you should gather your own supply leaves have to be acquired somewhere else If you don’t have a garden with trees Conditional clauses Conditional clauses:  (1) I guess we ought to put those in the oven, if we’re gonna eat them. (2) I will take the big one, … if you don’t mind. Conditional clauses Causal clauses:  Hypothesis: The positioning of causal clauses is the consequnce of a communicative strategy (or rhetorical structure) in which causal clauses function to support a previous statement. Causal clauses Causal clauses:  (1) Because the climate is changing, there will be more floods in the future. [ICE-GB] Causal clauses Causal clauses:  (1) I .. played with them all week long, which was really stupid, … because they got worked up. [ICE-GB] (2) ... And me and mom always accused her of being lazy. ... You know, … because she was just, ... all she did was sleep. [ICE-GB] (3) I realize it takes two to three weeks to process, but just tell me whether it's on file. …because if not, I want her to have another one. [ICE-GB] (4) A: We could spend a lot of our life trying to contradict that. B: Why? A: Well, because … it may be a very bad chemical bath. [ICE-GB] Causal clauses Summary:  Summary The positional patterns of subordinate clauses correlate with the order of head and dependent, but the patterns are skewed: relative and complement clauses are overall more common in the position after the head, whereas adverbial clauses are overall more common before the head. Summary:  Summary The positioning of subordinate clauses is motivated by competing forces. One of these forces is parsing: The preference for a short recognition domain motivates the occurrence of subordinate clauses after the head in head-initial languages and before the head in head-final languages. The asymmetries in the distribution of subordinate clauses arise from competing forces. Summary:  Summary Relative clauses are overall more common in the position after the head because prenominal relative clauses include a gap or relative pronoun before the head noun, which is difficult to interpret. Complement clauses are overall more common in the position after the head because they tend to include an initial complementizer, which motivates extraposition. Adverbial clauses are overall more common in the position before the head because of various semantic and pragmatic factors that motivate preposing.

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