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Title:Dialectal Variation in German 3-Verb-Clusters. A surface-oriented OT account
Authors:Tanja Schmid, Ralf Vogel
Comment:Submitted to Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics
Abstract:We present data from an empirical investigation on the dialectal variation in the syntax of German 3-verb clusters, consisting of a temporal auxiliary, a modal verb and a predicative verb. The ordering possibilities vary largely among the dialects. Some of the orders that we found only occur under particular stress assignments. We assume that these orders fulfil an information structural purpose, and that the reordering processes are only changes in the linear order of the elements which is represented exclusively at the surface syntactic level, PF (Phonetic Form). Our OT account offers a multifactorial perspective on the phenomenon, and in this follows a traditional point of view within German linguistics that has nearly been forgotten about within the generative discourse.

The guiding idea for the OT implementation is that the linear order of elements is only represented at PF (as has become common within Chomskyan syntax) and that it is influenced by (abstract) syntactic, semantic and prosodic factors. PFs are candidates in an OT competition where abstract syntactic, semantic and phonological correspondence and alignment constraints impose conflicting ordering requirements. The different ranking of these constraints yields the different dialects.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1