Topicalization and scrambling in German

Benjamin K Bergen bergen at HAWAII.EDU
Thu Sep 12 21:22:13 UTC 2002

My apologies for cross-posting.

I recently heard a talk in which it was argued that there is a universal
constraint (Unambiguous Domination - Mueller 1996) which states the
following: An element cannot be moved across another element that has
previously been extracted from it if the two movements are of the same
type (e.g. topicalization and topicalization or scrambling and

That is, you can perform two different types of movement, like
topicalization and scrambling to get the felicitous:

[t1 Zu lesen]2 hat keiner [das Buch]1 gestern  t2 versucht.
To read has no-one the book yesterday tried.
'No-one tried to read the book yesterday.'

But you can't perform scrambling twice:

*Ich glaube, dass [t1 zu lesen]2 keiner [das Buch]1 gestern t2 versucht
I think, that to read no-one the book yesterday tried has.
'No-one tried to read the book yesterday.'

My question is: can anyone point me to cognitive/functional/constructional
studies of topicalization and scrambling in German (or Dutch)? I'm
particularly interested in research that could start to explain this

I'll post a summary if there are sufficient responses.


Ben Bergen

| Benjamin K. Bergen              |
| Assistant Professor             |
| Department of Linguistics       |
| University of Hawai`i, Manoa    |
|                                 |
| bergen at               |
|  |

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