Interference Frisian (IF) is a variety of Frisian, spoken by mostly younger speakers, which is heavily influenced by Dutch. IF exhibits all six logically possible word orders in a cluster of three verbs. This phenomenon has been researched by Koeneman and Postma (2006), who argue for a parameter theory, which leaves frequency differences between various orders unexplained. Rejecting Koeneman and Postma’s parameter theory, but accepting their conclusion that Dutch (and Frisian) data are input for the grammar of IF, we will argue that the word order preferences of speakers of IF are determined by frequency and similarity. More specifically, three-verb clusters in IF are sensitive to:

- their linear left-to-right similarity to two-verb clusters and three-verb clusters in Frisian and in Dutch;

- the (estimated) frequency of two- and three-verb clusters in Frisian and Dutch.

The model will be shown to work best if Dutch and Frisian, and two- and three-verb clusters, have equal impact factors. If different impact factors are taken, the model’s predictions do not change substantially, testifying to its robustness. This analysis is in line with recent ideas that the sequential nature of human speech is more important to syntactic processes than commonly assumed, and that less burden need be put on the hierarchical dimension of syntactic structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-58
JournalLanguage and Speech
Issue number1
Early online date27 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ID: 1470499