Synchronic variation and diachronic change in Dutch two-verb clusters

Marieke Olthof, Maud Westendorp, Jelke Bloem, Fred Weerman


The present paper empirically investigates the relation between diachronic change and synchronic variation in the word order of Dutch two-verb clusters. Synchronically, these clusters occur both in the order auxiliary – participle (1-2) and in the order participle – auxiliary (2-1). Diachronic studies have reported increasing use of the 1-2 order starting as early as the fifteenth century. As diachronic change typically leads to synchronic variation, we hypothesize that the synchronic order variation can be related to this diachronic development. On the basis of an apparent-time study of spontaneous spoken language data from the Corpus Gesproken Nederlands, we show that younger speakers indeed use the 1-2 order more frequently.

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© Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde | ISSN (print): 0040-7550 | eISSN (online): 2212-0521