Weight effects across verbal domains

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Abundant research reports that weight affects the position of postverbal constituents (Hawkins 2004; Wasow 1997, 2002; Wasow &#38; Arnold 2003). Weight has been analyzed both as a constraint on production and processing. Our study analyzes whether increasing weight can shift subject position, which is typically preverbal, to the postverbal domain. We focus on Spanish subjects with unaccusative and emission verbs, because they display similar percentages of preverbal and postverbal occurrences. Our sample corpus was extracted from the <i>Corpus de Referencia del Espa&#241;ol Actual</i> (CREA). Data was coded as nominal and scalar data in order to compare the validity of the different methodologies adopted by Hawkins (1994) and Gries (2003) respectively. In addition, we investigate which is the most descriptive weight unit: word (Lohse, Hawkins &#38; Wasow 2004), syllable (Gries 2003), or phoneme. Our results indicate that weight is a statistically significant factor in subject placement.


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