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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Disentangling factors in the placement of manner adverbials in German: the effect of distributional similarity

  • Author(s): Schäfer, Martin
  • Gauza, Holger
  • Stolterfoht, Britta
  • et al.

Processing differences between obligatory constituents like verbal complements and facultative ones like adjuncts are widely discussed in psycholinguistics. But the relative positional and semantic variability of adjuncts makes analyzing these differences a daunting challenge. Focusing on the intricate problem of the default position of manner adverbials in German, we present a re-analysis of a recent psycholinguistic study on their ordering preferences in which we explore the extent to which similarities between word embeddings can be used as stand-ins for shared semantic memory, representing the probability of seamless conceptual combination. In re-analyzing six experiments across different paradigms, the addition of the new predictors yields substantially better models which show that these factors considerably interact with established lexical and grammatical predictors.

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