Not so peculiar after all: On the normal position of arguments of German experiencer-object verbs
Simon Masloch, Johanna Poppek, Tibor Kiss
November 2023

The present paper provides evidence that apparently erratic linearisation patterns of experiencer-object verbs in German can be accounted for by integrating well-known linearisation constraints. We have carried out two Two-Alternative Forced-Choice experiments: One shows that experiencer-object verbs selecting a dative object prefer an object-before-subject linearisation with inanimate subjects while the ones selecting an accusative object lean towards subject before object. The other shows that with animate subjects, accusative-object experiencer-object verbs and accusative- and dative-object action verbs prefer subject before object, while there is no clear preference for dative-object experiencer-object verbs. An explorative investigation reveals verbspecific differences that call into question the case-based classes. We argue that linearisation preferences of experiencer-object verbs in German are best analysed assuming base generation coupled with violable linearisation constraints. The paper finishes with an analysis along these lines.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007118
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: experiencer-object verb, psych verb, word order, experimental linguistics, forced-choice experiment, german, semantics, syntax
previous versions: v1 [February 2023]
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