Linguistics in the Netherlands 2014
  • ISSN 0929-7332
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9919


Except for finite verbs in main clauses, verbs in Standard Dutch cluster together in a clause-final position. In certain Dutch dialects, non-verbal material can occur within this verb cluster (Verhasselt 1961; Koelmans 1965, among many others). These dialects vary with respect to which types of elements can interrupt the verb cluster, varying from particles to various types of arguments and adverbs (Barbiers, van der Auwera, Bennis, Boef, de Vogelaer & van der Ham 2008). A study amongst forty Dutch dialect speakers reveals an ordered ranking of grammatical types, reflecting their acceptability in a verb cluster. I argue that this ranking directly follows from syntactic principles: The syntactic size and position of the intervening element affect its acceptance in a verb cluster. Potentially, these principles interact with a preference of performance dubbed ‘minimize domains’ (Hawkins 1994, 2003, 2004), which requires both the higher verb and the intervening element to be adjacent to the main verb, leading to two conflicting structures.


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