Jürg Fleischer: Norm and variation in the relative order of accusative and dative personal pronouns in German: Evidence from corpora (18th–21st century) 145
Jürg Fleischer (Marburg) Norm and variation in the relative order of accusative and dative personal pronouns in German Evidence from corpora (18th-21st century) 1. Introduction While German word order is generally said to be ‘free’, according to many ref- erence grammars and individual linguists, the relative order of accusative and da- tive personal pronouns is fixed. The pronominal cluster usually occurs at the left edge of the so-called Mittelfeld, i.e., after the inflected verb in main clauses and after the subordinator or relative pronoun in dependent clauses, respectively; in addition, the pronominal cluster can be placed after a subject positioned in the Mittelfeld. Within the pronominal cluster, the order of accusative and dative per- sonal pronouns is said to be rigid: the accusative usually precedes the dative1 (see, for instance, Lenerz 1977: 68, Grundzüge 1981: 734, Wegener 1985: 252, Grammatik der deutschen Sprache 1997: 1519-1520, Duden Grammatik 2009: 871): (1) Anna will ihnACC ihrDAT morgen übergeben (Duden Grammatik 2009: 871) ‘Anna wants to give her it tomorrow’ In contrast to personal pronouns, for full noun phrases the ‘unmarked’ order is dative before accusative, according to Lenerz (1977). Certainly, inverse order is possible for full noun phrases, but certain conditions (not treated in any detail here) have to be met; for example, depending on, among other criteria, the topi- cality, definiteness and length of the noun phrases (see Lenerz 1977: 63), or de- pending on the animacy of the noun phrases or the verbal classes (see Gram- matik der...
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