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Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Dziubalska-Kolaczyk, Katarzyna

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Volume 50, Issue 4


The effects of length and complexity on constituent ordering in written English

Hua Wang / Haitao Liu
Published Online: 2014-11-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/psicl-2014-0024


Based on the written part of the British Component of International Corpus of English (ICE-GB), this paper investigates the interrelationship between length and complexity of sentential constituents and their positions in the sentence. Results show that length and complexity affect sentential constituent ordering. Within the sentence, the longest and the most complex constituents tend to occur in the final position, and the relatively shorter and less complex constituents tend to be in the initial position. However, for sentential constituents in other positions, the length-complexity-position relationship appears to be random. Possible explanations for the findings are provided from different perspectives, especially from the distribution of given and new information.

Keywords: corpus; length; complexity; constituent ordering; information structure

About the article

Received: 2014-03-30

Revised: 2014-10-01

Accepted: 2013-10-22

Published Online: 2014-11-14

Citation Information: Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics, Volume 50, Issue 4, Pages 477–494, ISSN (Online) 1897-7499, ISSN (Print) 0137-2459, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/psicl-2014-0024.

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