A multifactorial analysis of <italic>that/</italic>zero alternation

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This corpus-based study uses a stepwise logistic regression analysis to examinethe diachronic development of that/zero alternation with three verbs of cognition,viz. think, guess and understand in both spoken and written corpora from1560–2012. Eleven structural features which have been claimed in the literatureto predict the presence of the zero complementizer form are tested to see if(1) there is indeed a diachronic trend towards more zero use, (2) whether theconditioning factors proposed in the literature indeed predict the zero form,(3) to what extent these factors interact and (4) whether the predictive powerof the conditioning factors becomes stronger or weaker over time. The analysisdisproves the hypothesis that there has been an overall diachronic developmenttowards more zero use and that the interactions with verb type brings to lightdifferences between verbs in terms of the predictive power of the individualstructural features.


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