Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Linguistics

An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences

Editor-in-Chief: Gast, Volker


IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 1.066

CiteScore 2018: 0.97

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.384
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.409

Online
ISSN
1613-396X
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Ahead of print

Issues

Foregrounding of subordinate clauses by word order: Psycholinguistic evidence of the function of V>Adv (V2) word order in Danish

Marie Herget Christensen
  • Linguistics, Kobenhavns Universitet Institut for Nordiske Studier og Sprogvidenskab, Emil Holms Kanal 2, Kobenhavn 2300, Denmark
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Tanya Karoli Christensen
  • Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen, Emil Holms Kanal 2, Copenhagen S DK-2300, Denmark
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Torben Juel Jensen
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen, Emil Holms Kanal 2, Copenhagen S DK 2300, Denmark
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2020-01-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2019-0040

Abstract

In modern Danish, main clauses have the word order X>Verb>Adverb (i. e., V2) whereas subordinate clauses are generally characterized by the “subordinate clause” word order Subject>Adverb>Verb. Spoken Danish has a high frequency of “main clause” word order in subordinate clauses, however, and in the article we argue that this “Main Clause Phenomena” (cf. Aelbrecht et  al. 2012) functions as a foregrounding device, signaling that the more important information of the clause complex is to be found in the subordinate clause instead of in its matrix clause.

A prediction from the foregrounding hypothesis is that a subordinate clause with Verb>Adverb word order will attract more attention than a clause with Adverb>Verb word order. To test this, we conducted an experiment under the text change paradigm. 59 students each read 24 constructions twice, each containing a subordinate clause with either Verb>Adverb or Adverb>Verb word order. Half of the subordinate clauses were governed by a semifactive predicate (open to both word orders) and the other half by a semantically secondary sentence (in itself strongly favoring Verb>Adverb word order). Attention to the subordinate clause was tested by measuring how disinclined the participants were to notice change of a word in the subordinate clause when re-reading it.

Results showed significantly more attention to Verb>Adverb clauses than to Adverb>Verb clauses (though only under semifactive predicates), and more attention to subordinate clauses under semantically secondary than semifactive predicates. We consider this as strongly supporting the hypothesis that Verb>Adv word order functions as a foregrounding signal in subordinate clauses.

Keywords: change blindness; subordinate clauses; Danish; foregrounding; word order

References

  • Aelbrecht, Lobke, Liliane Haegeman & Rachel Nye. 2012. Main clause phenomena. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.Google Scholar

  • Andersson, Lars-Gunnar. 1975. Form and function of subordinate clauses. Gothenburg: Department of linguistics, University of Gothenburg.Google Scholar

  • Baayen, R. Harald. 2008. Analyzing linguistic data. A practical introduction to statistics using R. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Bentzen, Kristine. 2010. Exploring embedded main clause phenomena: The irrelevance of factivity and some challenges from V2 languages. Theoretical Linguistics 36. 163–172.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Boye, Kasper & Peter Harder. 2007. Complement-taking predicates: Usage and linguistic structure. Studies in Language 31. 569–606.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Boye, Kasper & Peter Harder. 2012. A usage-based theory of grammatical status and grammaticalization. Language 88. 1–44.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Christensen, Marie Herget. 2015. Ændringsblindhed i sætningsprocessering i skriftlig dansk [Change blindness in sentence processing of written Danish]. MUDS 15. 83–96.Google Scholar

  • Christensen, Tanya Karoli & Torben Juel Jensen. 2015. Word order variation and foregrounding of complement clauses. In Eivind Thorgersen, Stian Hårstad, Brit Mæhlum & Unn Røyneland (eds.), Language variation – European perspectives V: Selected papers from the Seventh International Conference on Language Variation in Europe (ICLaVE 7), Trondheim June 2013, 69–86. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.Google Scholar

  • Christensen, Tanya Karoli, Torben Juel Jensen & Marie Herget Christensen. 2015. Adverbielle ledsætningers ledstilling i dansk talesprog [Word order of adverbial subclauses in spoken Danish]. MUDS 15. 97–115.Google Scholar

  • Cristofaro, Sonia. 2005. Subordination. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Diderichsen, Paul. 1946. Elementær Dansk Grammatik. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.Google Scholar

  • Ferreira, Fernanda, Karl G. D. Bailey & Vittoria Ferraro. 2002. Good-enough representations in language comprehension. Current Directions in Psychological Science 11. 11–15.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Glismann, Otto. 1978. On factives and semi-factives. In John Weinstock (ed.), The Nordic languages and modern linguistics, Vol. 3, 360–365. Austin: University of Texas.Google Scholar

  • Green, Georgia M. 1976. Main clause phenomena in subordinate clauses. Language 52. 382–397.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Gregersen, Frans. 2009. The data and design of the LANCHART study. Acta Linguistica Hafniensia 41. 3–29.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Hansen, Erik & Lars Heltoft. 2011. Grammatik over det Danske Sprog. Copenhagfen: Det Danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab.Google Scholar

  • Hooper, Joan B. & Sandra A. Thompson. 1973. On the applicability of root transformations. Linguistic Inquiry 4. 465–497.Google Scholar

  • Jensen, Torben Juel & Tanya Karoli Christensen. 2013. Promoting the demoted: The distribution and semantics of “main clause word order” in spoken Danish complement clauses. Lingua 137. 38–58.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Julien, Marit. 2007. Embedded V2 in Norwegian and Swedish. Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax 80. 103–161.Google Scholar

  • Peirce, JW. 2007. PsychoPy - Psychophysics software in Python. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 162. 8–13.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Price, Jessica M. 2008. The use of Focus Cues in Healthy Ageing. Dissertation, University of Glasgow.Google Scholar

  • Sanford, Alison JS, Anthony J Sanford, Ruth Filik & Jo Molle. 2005. Depth of lexical-semantic processing and sentential load. Journal of Memory and Language 53. 378–396.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Sanford, Alison J. S., Anthony J. Sanford, Jo Molle & Catherine Emmott. 2006. Shallow processing and attention capture in written and spoken discourse. Discourse Processes 42. 109–130.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Simons, Mandy. 2007. Observations on embedding verbs, evidentiality, and presupposition. Lingua 117. 1034–1056.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Sturt, Patrick, Anthony J Sanford, Andrew Stewart & Eugene Dawydiak. 2004. Linguistic focus and good-enough representations: An application of the change-detection paradigm. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 11. 882–888.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Tagliamonte, Sali A. & R. Harald Baayen. 2012. Models, forests, and trees of York English: Was/were variation as a case study for statistical practice. Language Variation and Change 24. 135–178.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Teleman, Ulf. 1967. Bisatser i talad svenska [Subordinate clauses in spoken Swedish]. In Gösta Holm (ed.), Svenskt talspråk, 160–203. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.Google Scholar

  • Thompson, Sandra A. & Anthony Mulac. 1991a. The discourse conditions for the use of the complementizer that in conversational English. Journal of Pragmatics 15. 237–251.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Thompson, Sandra A. & Anthony Mulac. 1991b. A quantitative perspective on the grammaticalization of epistemic parentheticals in English. In Elizabeth Closs Traugott & Bernd Heine (eds.), Approaches to grammaticalization, 313–329. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.Google Scholar

  • Wiklund, Anna-Lena, Kristine Bentzen, Gunnar Hrafn Hrafnbjargarson & Thorbjörg Hróarsdóttir. 2009. On the distribution and illocution of V2 in Scandinavian that-clauses. Lingua 119. 1914–1938.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2020-01-08


Citation Information: Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2019-0040.

Export Citation

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in