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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2018

An experimental study on freezing and topicalization in English

From the book Freezing

  • Marion Jäger


Extraction from topicalization belongs to the constructions which have been analyzed to be ungrammatical due to subextraction from a moved constituent and are therefore assumed to be freezing configurations (cf. Corver 2006, 2017 for a review). Syntactic accounts on freezing which explain this phenomenon in terms of grammatical restrictions have been challenged by processing accounts which explain freezing by means of extra-grammatical factors like processing complexity (e.g. Hofmeister, Culicover, and Winkler 2015; Chaves (this volume), Culicover and Winkler (this volume)). In this paper, we argue that the three factors topicalization, embedding and extraction play a role in the unacceptability of extraction from topicalization. Two rating studies show that these three factors independently lead to a decline in acceptability, as they each add complexity to the structure. Our study therefore provides further evidence for the claim that freezing configurations can be better explained by processing complexity than by syntactic restrictions.

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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