Extraction Asymmetries

Experimental evidence from German

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This monograph addresses divergent views in the linguistic literature on whether German displays the <i>that</i>-trace effect and other subject/object asymmetries commonly found for long extractions in English and other languages. Using newly developed rating methodologies, the author exposes consistent and robust subject/object asymmetries in German – a surprisingly unequivocal result given that the existence of these effects is controversial. This finding raises important questions: how can one account for the discrepancy between the clear experimental evidence on the one hand, and the lack of consensus in the linguistic literature on the other? And secondly, it raises again the old question of why subject extractions are dispreferred. This work also provides intriguing new insights into the long-standing question on how to analyse German constructions such as <i>Wer glaubst du hat recht</i>? – the ‘parenthesis versus extraction debate'. In this work decisive evidence points in favour of the parenthetical analysis.

Subjects: Germanic linguistics; Theoretical linguistics; Generative linguistics; Syntax

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Tübingen

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