Corpus-Evidence for True Long-Distance Dependencies in Dutch
Abstract Long-distance dependencies have been studied extensively in syntactic theory. Yet, true long-distance dependencies, spanning more than a single predicate, appear to be rare in actual use. In this paper, we present the results of searching for such dependencies in a large, automatically annotated, treebank for Dutch, concentrating on phenomena that have recently been subject to debate, and where conflicting claims have been made regarding their productivity and existence.
Our results suggest that in Dutch, true long-distance dependencies are rare and have limited productivity. We also show that a popular strategy for avoiding such dependencies, resumptive prolepsis, is much more frequent and productive. Finally, we demonstrate that the annotation also facilitates searching for parasitic gaps, even though the construction itself is outside the scope of the computational grammar.
Keywords Long-distance dependencies, corpora, Dutch, resumptive prolepsis, parasitic gaps