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Object symmetry effects in Germanic: evidence for the role of case

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Anders Holmberg



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This paper focuses on passive symmetry effects in Germanic. We describe two large-samplejudgment experiments with native speakers of Norwegian and Swedish, two partially symmetricpassive languages. The results fail to support predictions of Anagnostopoulou’s (2003) seminallocality approach to passive symmetry in these languages. We propose that constraints onobject ordering in these varieties are better modeled on a revised version of classic case-basedtheories. On this approach, patterns of object ordering are governed by variation in the waythat case is assigned to objects. In addition, the Norwegian results suggest a shape conservationeffect in object shift contexts not previously reported in the literature. Theme-recipient ordersin Norwegian object shift contexts are available for just those speakers who also accept themerecipientorders in active non-object shift contexts. This object ordering constraint applies inthe same environment that another, much better described ordering constraint applies, namelyHolmberg’s Generalization effects. We show that these results are explained by Fox and Pesetsky’s(2005) cyclic linearization algorithm together with the assumption that theme-recipientorders vP-internally reflect short theme-movement above the recipient.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Haddican W, Holmberg A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Natural Language and Linguistic Theory

Year: 2018

Volume: 37

Issue: 1

Pages: 91-122

Print publication date: 01/02/2019

Online publication date: 06/03/2018

Acceptance date: 24/06/2017

Date deposited: 07/07/2017

ISSN (print): 0167-806X

ISSN (electronic): 1573-0859

Publisher: Springer Netherlands


DOI: 10.1007/s11049-018-9404-5


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