1 Intuitions about the non-inverted V3 word order in native speakers of Dutch: a forced-choice approach.

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All modern Germanic languages except for English share the Verb Second (V2) property. This property dictates that the finite verb should be in second position in all declarative main clauses. Recently though, a particular deviation from this pattern – known as non-inverted Verb Third (V3) – has seemingly been gaining ground. Data from different Germanic languages show that non-inverted V3 word orders are often associated with a preference for pronominal subjects. This preference was suspected to be related to the morphosyntactic weight of the subject, or to its information status. The recurring pattern found in different language varieties may suggest that Germanic languages share a grammatical property which allows for non-inverted V3 sentences to occur in certain contexts. The present study aims to find out whether such a preference also exists in native speakers of (Netherlandic) Dutch, a Germanic language which does not currently allow the non-inverted V3 word order. Utilizing a forced-choice task, sentences with pronominal subjects were compared to sentences with given nominal subjects. The study failed to provide evidence that Dutch native speakers preferred pronominal subjects in non-inverted V3 sentences. At the same time, an exploratory part of the study compared given nominal subjects to semi-given nominal subjects, in order to see whether information status played a role in this matter. The expectation was that Dutch native speakers would prefer given nominal subjects in non-inverted V3 sentences, in line with the given-before-new principle. The results did not provide evidence for this expectation. A number of factors that could have caused this null result are explored, among which are the relatively small number of items and participants, the variance in preferences between items and participants, and a possible tendency towards chance level. Future research on similar topics could improve on this study by including more items and participants, or by using a different task, such as a grammaticality judgement task.
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