Incremental sentence production inhibits clausal coordinate ellipsis: A treebank study into Dutch and German

Karin Harbusch

Abstract


From two corpus studies into varieties of clausal coordination in English (Meyer, 1995 and Greenbaum & Nelson, 1999), it is known that the incidence of clausal coordinate ellipsis (CCE) is about two times higher in written than in spoken language. We present a treebank study into CCE in written and spoken Dutch and German which confirms this tendency. Moreover, we observe considerable differences between written and spoken language with re- spect to the incidence of four main types of clausal coordinate ellipsis—Gapping, Forward Conjunction Reduction (FCR), Backward Conjunction Reduction (BCR), and Subject Gap with Finite/Fronted Verb (SGF). We argue that the detailed data pattern cannot be accounted for in terms of audience design, and propose an explanation based on the assumption that dur- ing spontaneous speaking—but not during writing—, the scope of online grammatical plan- ning is basically restricted to one (finite) clause.

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