Unscrambling the lexical nature of weak definites

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We investigate how the lexical nature of weak definites influences the phenomenon of direct object scrambling in Dutch. Earlier experiments have indicated that weak definites are more resistant to scrambling than strong definites. We examine how the notion of weak definiteness used in this experimental work can be reduced to lexical connectedness. We explore four different ways of quantifying the relation between a direct object and the verb. Our results show that predictability of a verb given the object (verb cloze probability) provides the best fit to the weak/strong distinction used in the earlier experiments


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