Probability in the grammar of German and Dutch: Interfixation in triconstituent compounds
Krott, A., Libben, G., Jarema, G., Dressler, W., Schreuder, R., & Baayen, R. H.
Probability in the grammar of German and Dutch: Interfixation in triconstituent compounds. Language and Speech, 47
This study addresses the possibility that interfixes in multiconstituent nominal compounds in German and Dutch are functional as markers of immediate constituent structure.We report a lexical statistical survey of interfixation in the lexicons of German and Dutch which shows that all interfixes
of German and one interfix of Dutch are significantly more likely to appear at the major constituent boundary than expected under chance conditions.
A series of experiments provides evidence that speakers of German and Dutch are sensitive to the probabilistic cues to constituent structure provided by the interfixes. Thus, our data provide evidence that probability is part and parcel of grammatical competence.