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Reading: What usage can tell us about grammar: Embedded verb second in Scandinavian

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What usage can tell us about grammar: Embedded verb second in Scandinavian

Authors:

Spencer Caplan ,

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, US
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Kajsa Djärv

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, US
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Abstract

This paper uses large-scale data extracted from a series of Swedish corpora to investigate the factors responsible for conditioning the choice of (optional) embedded V2 in Swedish. Embedded V2 has been argued to represent a more general kind of syntactic optionality found across languages: syntactic structures typically found in matrix clauses, but which are also available in certain types of embedded environments (so called Main Clause Phenomena). While the received view, going back to Hooper & Thompson (1973), is that the availability of main clause syntax has a semantic-pragmatic correlate in the presence of Illocutionary Force, pinpointing exactly what this amounts to has remained an open problem. Through statistical analysis of the Swedish corpus data, combined with results from a semantic-inference task, we are able to falsify certain previous (theoretical and empirical) claims about the distribution and interpretation of embedded V2. We additionally evaluate, and find no evidence to support, a processing or usage-based view of optionality in embedded V2. We argue instead that the interpretive notion driving the distribution of embedded V2 is discourse novelty; whether the embedded proposition is treated as discourse-old or new information. We argue that embedded V2 is licensed in contexts where p is discourse novel. While this is fundamentally a pragmatic notion, it is nevertheless tightly constrained by both lexical-semantic properties of the matrix predicate and other aspects of the grammatical context. An important methodological consequence of this work is that by looking at particular interactions of lexical and grammatical contexts, statistical analysis of usage data can be used to test specific predictions made by syntactic and semantic theory.

How to Cite: Caplan, S., & Djärv, K. (2019). What usage can tell us about grammar: Embedded verb second in Scandinavian. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 4(1), 101. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.867
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  Published on 27 Aug 2019
 Accepted on 21 Jun 2019            Submitted on 03 Dec 2018

1 Background

1.1 Introduction

In this paper, we investigate a type of syntactic optionality found across languages: syntactic structures typically found in matrix clauses, but which are also available—although apparently not obligatory—in certain types of embedded environments. Since Hooper & Thompson (1973), building on seminal work by Emonds (1970), the received view is that such Main Clause Phenomena [MCP] are licensed by the kinds of interpretive properties typically associated with matrix clauses. In particular, the received view is that MCP are available in contexts associated with Illocutionary Force. However, pinpointing exactly what this association amounts to has proven a serious challenge for both theoretical and experimental work on this topic (see among many others Hooper 1975; Green 1976; Wechsler 1991; Holmberg & Platzack 1995; Gärtner 2000; 2002; Truckenbrodt 2006; Julien 2009; Wiklund et al. 2009; Bentzen 2010; Gärtner & Michaelis 2010; Haegeman & Ürögdi 2010; Wiklund 2010; Aelbrecht et al. 2012; Haegeman 2012; Jensen & Christensen 2013; Haegeman 2014; Julien 2015; Woods 2016a; b; Miyagawa 2017; Djärv et al. 2017). This paper presents new quantitative data addressing this question in the context of embedded V-to-C movement, or Verb Second—a type of MCP found across a variety of languages, including Mainland Scandinavian and several other Germanic languages. From this data, we argue that embedded V2 [EV2] is only licensed in contexts where the embedded proposition p is introduced into the conversation as entirely new information. This is to say that EV2 is unavailable in contexts where p has been previously discussed by the speaker and the hearer, regardless of whether or not p is mutually agreed on.

Scandinavian EV2 raises a number of questions for the study of syntactic optionality. While previous work on EV2 has reported judgments pointing to potential semantic-pragmatic factors driving the choice of EV2 vs. V-in situ, consensus has yet to be reached as to what precisely those factors are. One possibility, which we consider in this paper, is that any interpretive correlates are only apparent, and that the choice is in fact primarily driven by extra-grammatical factors. A case of this type involves so-called that-omission, or complementizer drop, in English, which Dayal & Grimshaw (2009) argues constitutes a type of MCP. However, both experimental (Ferreira & Dell 2000) and modeling (Roland, Elman & Ferreira 2006; Jaeger 2010) work shows that the choice of variant is largely predictable from processing factors.

Moreover, whatever the interpretive properties associated with EV2 turn out to be, it seems clear that they are not identical to those associated with certain other MCP (see examples in (3)). From the point of view of the syntax-meaning interface, the bigger empirical question is whether all MCP share the same interpretive (or distributional) properties, apart from their restricted occurrence in embedded environments. Studying EV2 in the context of theoretical and empirical claims about MCP is therefore important, as it brings us closer to answering the question of what it means to be an MCP, and what the unifying property is, if any. The same can also be said for studying Swedish EV2 in the context of theoretical and empirical claims about EV2 across languages; at the level of the interface of structure and meaning, is EV2 a unified phenomenon? The availability of large-scale naturally occurring data, makes Swedish EV2 particularly well-suited to address these different questions for a type of construction that is both marked and infrequent in speech.

A popular approach to EV2, going back to Hooper & Thompson’s now classical work, is to argue that embedded clauses with V2 order are asserted—although little consensus has been reached in the literature with respect to what it means for a sentence to be asserted (Grice 1957; Stalnaker 1974; 1978; et seq), or what specific notion of assertion is relevant to the licensing of EV2 (e.g. Andersson 1975; Green 1976; Wechsler 1991; Holmberg & Platzack 1995; Truckenbrodt 2006; Julien 2009; Wiklund 2010; Gärtner & Michaelis 2010; Jensen & Christensen 2013; Julien 2015; Woods 2016a; b). On the other hand, it has been argued that what actually matters for the licensing of EV2, and embedded MCP more generally, are lexical properties of the matrix predicate. However, no consensus has yet been reached regarding the type of lexical properties that determine or constrain the distribution of embedded MCP/V2 (see for instance Den Besten 1983; Weerman & de Haan 1986; Iatridou & Kroch 1992; Vikner 1995; De Haan 2001; Bentzen et al. 2007; Wiklund et al. 2009; De Cuba & Ürögdi 2009; 2010; Haegeman & Ürögdi 2010; Haegeman 2014; Kastner 2015). In this paper we argue, based on statistical data extracted from a series of large-scale written Swedish corpora, that the semantic-pragmatic notion driving the distribution of EV2 is discourse novelty; whether the embedded proposition is treated as discourse-old or new information. While this is fundamentally a pragmatic notion, it is nevertheless tightly constrained by lexical-semantic properties of the matrix predicate.

We additionally demonstrate the use of diagnostics to differentiate the various underlying factors which drive syntactic optionality. This is to highlight how the type of usage data presented in this paper can indeed inform our understanding of traditional grammatical representations rather than supplanting them. We argue that not all probabilistic output is a reflection of learned gradient cognitive representations; the type of usage data which has popularly been analyzed as resulting from either gradient underlying structure (Bybee 2006; Bresnan 2007) or psycholinguistic factors (Jaeger 2010) can (at least in this instance) be better understood as reflecting categorical grammatical representations and their interaction with discourse context.

The following sub-sections (§1.2–1.4) provide the theoretical and experimental background. Section 2.1 details the methods of our study. In Section 2.2 we consider a number of potentially relevant usage- or processing-based factors (Ferreira & Dell 2000; Bybee 2006; Jaeger 2010), which while not previously applied to EV2, nonetheless make testable predictions in this case. We show that, while stylistic factors such as formality play a clear role in conditioning the rates of EV2 across grammatical contexts, we do not find evidence supporting a processing or usage-based account. In Section 3, we discuss and test the predictions made by previous influential accounts regarding the type of lexical factors that influence the distribution of EV2. We find that, while certain aspects of the predictions made by these lexical licensing, or selection-based accounts are borne out, as they stand, these accounts are in themselves unable to account for the overall patterns in the data. Section 4 motivates and develops our theoretical account, whereby EV2 is licensed by discourse novelty. We show that this account makes novel predictions about the interaction of certain clause-embedding attitude verbs with matrix negation regarding the availability of EV2. Section 5 presents new experimental data from an acceptability judgment task, showing that these predictions are indeed borne out. Section 6 connects the experimental results back to related corpus data, providing further evidence in favor of our account. Section 7 concludes.

1.2 Main Clause Phenomena

Adding to the observation made by Emonds (1970), that certain types of syntactic structures appear to be confined to matrix clauses, Hooper & Thompson (1973) [H&T] argued that, additionally, certain classes of predicates (1), but not others (2), also allow for these structures in their complements.

(1) Predicate types that allow MCP:
  a. (Non-factive) speech act predicates, e.g. say, argue, tell, claim (H&T’s Class A)
  b. Doxastic non-factives, e.g. think, guess, believe, imagine (H&T’s Class B)
  c. Doxastic factives (also known as “semifactives”, following Karttunen 1971), e.g. find out, realize, discover, be aware (H&T’s Class E)

(2) Predicate types that do not allow MCP:
  a. (Non-factive) response predicates, e.g. deny, doubt, accept, admit (H&T’s Class C)
  b. Emotive factives, e.g. regret, appreciate, resent, be glad (H&T’s Class D)

Classic examples of English MCP include VP-preposing (3a), topicalization (3b), left/right-dislocation (3c).

(3) Hooper & Thompson (1973: 467–8)
  a.    i. Mary plans for John to marry her, and [marry her]i he will ti.
  b.    i. [Each part]i Steve examined ti carefully.
  c.    i. [This book]i, iti has the recipe in it.
       ii. You should go to see iti, [that movie]i.

The observation made by H&T, illustrated in (4) using VP-preposing, is that MCP appear to be possible in the complements of the predicates in (1), but not embedded under those in (2).

(4) Mary plans for John to marry her, and…
  a.    I {say, think, know} that [marry her]i he will ti.
  b. *I {resent, deny} that [marry her]i he will ti.

For EV2 declaratives,1 the received view is that V2 is possible under the predicate classes in (1), but not under those in (2), as shown in (5). V-in situ, on the other hand, is the unmarked option, possible under all of the five predicate types in (1) and (2), as shown in (6). (V2 is diagnosed here by V≺Neg order, whereas V-in situ is identified by Neg≺V order; see Section 1.3.).

    1. (5)
    1. Swedish
    1.  
    1. a.
    1.    Jon
    2.    Jon
    1. {sa/trodde/visste}
    2. {said/thought/knew}
    1. att
    2. that
    1. han
    2. he
    1. hade
    2. had
    1. inte
    2. not
    1. sett
    2. seen
    1. filmen.
    2. movie.DEF
    1.    ‘Jon {said/thought/knew} that he hadn’t seen the movie.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Jon
    2.    Jon
    1. {förnekade/ångrade}
    2. {denied/regretted}
    1. att
    2. that
    1. han
    2. he
    1. hade
    2. had
    1. inte
    2. not
    1. sett
    2. seen
    1. filmen.
    2. movie.DEF
    1.    ‘Jon {denied/regretted} that he hadn’t seen the movie.’
    1. (6)
    1. Swedish
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. Jon {sa/trodde/visste}
    2. Jon {said/thought/knew}
    1. att
    2. that
    1. han
    2. he
    1. inte
    2. not
    1. hade
    2. had
    1. sett
    2. seen
    1. filmen.
    2. movie.DEF
    1. ‘Jon {said/thought/knew} that he hadn’t seen the movie.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Jon {förnekade/ångrade}
    2. Jon {denied/regretted}
    1. att
    2. that
    1. han
    2. he
    1. inte
    2. not
    1. hade
    2. had
    1. sett
    2. seen
    1. filmen.
    2. movie.DEF
    1. ‘Jon {denied/regretted} that he hadn’t seen the movie.’

It’s worth noting, however, that these empirical claims are based on subtle judgments about the acceptability of the relevant sentences, and that their empirical status is still a matter of debate. For instance, regarding the availability of topicalization in English embedded declaratives, Bianchi & Frascarelli (2009) provide examples like that in (7), which was judged to be acceptable by 80% of their consultants (12/15), thus casting some doubt on the claim that emotive factives disallow MCP.

(7) Bianchi & Frascarelli (2009: 69)
  I am glad that [this unrewarding job]i, she has finally decided to give up ti.

Here we probe this question in the context of Swedish EV2, which we briefly introduce in the following section.

1.3 Swedish embedded Verb Second

Syntactically, EV2 in Swedish involves movement of the finite verb to C.2 Importantly, V-to-C languages are different from V-to-T languages. In the latter type, unlike in Swedish and other V-to-C languages, Vfin≺Neg order is obligatory in all tensed matrix and embedded clauses.3

In Swedish, which is SVO, it is not always clear from the surface constituent order whether a subject-initial clause has undergone V-to-C movement or not. This is because such movement often results in the same surface-order as a clause without movement, as shown in (8).4

    1. (8)
    1. Swedish
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. Hon
    2. she
    1. gillar
    2. likes
    1. katter.
    2. cats
    1. ‘She likes cats.’
    1.  
    1. b.

In Swedish, there are two common diagnostics for identifying verb movement. The first is the presence of sentence adverb (including negation), occupying the left edge of vP, as shown in (9b). The second is the the presence of a topicalized or focused non-subject XP in Spec, CP (10).

    1. (9)
    1. Swedish
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. Hon
    2. she
    1. gillar
    2. likes
    1. inte
    2. not
    1. katter.
    2. cats
    1. ‘She doesn’t like cats.’
    1.  
    1. b.

As shown using these diagnostics in (10) and (11), V2 is obligatory in Swedish matrix clauses.

    1. (10)
    1. Swedish
    1.  
    1. a.
    1.    [Den filmen]i
    2.    [that movie.DEF]i
    1. gillade
    2. liked
    1. hon ti.
    2. she
    1.    ‘That movie, she liked.’                                                  EV2
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *[Den filmen]i
    2.    [that movie.DEF]i
    1. hon
    2. she
    1. gillade ti.
    2. liked
    1.    ‘That movie, she liked.’                                        *V-in situ
    1. (11)
    1. Swedish
    1.  
    1. a.
    1.    Jon
    2.    Jon
    1. hade
    2. had
    1. inte
    2. not
    1. sett
    2. seen
    1. filmen.
    2. movie.DEF
    1.    ‘Jon hadn’t seen the movie.’                                          EV2
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Jon
    2.    Jon
    1. inte
    2. not
    1. hade
    2. had
    1. sett
    2. seen
    1. filmen.
    2. movie.DEF
    1.    ‘Jon hadn’t seen the movie.’                                 *V-in situ

While EV2 is possible in certain embedded contexts, as shown in (5)–(6), it is by no means obligatory in these contexts, as shown in (12).

    1. (12)
    1. Swedish
    1. Jon
    2. Jon
    1. {sa/trodde/visste}
    2. {said/thought/knew}
    1. att
    2. that
    1. han
    2. he
    1. (hade)
    2. had
    1. inte
    2. not
    1. (hade)
    2. had
    1. sett
    2. seen
    1. filmen.
    2. movie.DEF
    1. ‘Jon {said/thought/knew} that he hadn’t seen the movie.’

Next, we turn our focus to the interpretive effects typically associated with EV2, and MCP more broadly.

1.4 Interpreting MCP

The received view in the literature going back to Hooper & Thompson (1973) is that Main Clause Phenomena are associated with illocutionary force, the type of speech act associated with an utterance. For declaratives, assertion is the associated illocutionary force. Following Stalnaker (1974), a speaker asserting a proposition p minimally requires that:

(13) a. The speaker is committed to p;
  b. The speaker is attempting to add p to the Common Ground [CG] (the set of propositions mutually taken to be true by the discourse participants).

It is uncontroversial that in uttering either sentence in (14), the speaker is typically asserting something about their beliefs, and not about John.

(14) a. I believe the rumor about John.
  b. I believe that John stole the money.

There does, however, exist a reading of (14b) on which the speaker is asserting the proposition that John stole the money. On this reading, the matrix clause “I believe…” plays a parenthetical role. As was observed already by H&T, the latter reading can be paraphrased using a slifting construction, as in (15).

(15) John stole the money, I believe.

Connecting the availability of MCP to the presence of illocutionary force would then nicely capture both their obligatory occurrence in matrix clauses, as well as their restricted availability in embedded clauses.

One popular way of encoding this connection between the syntax and the pragmatics is to say that MCP involve an extended C-domain that encodes illocutionary force (such as that in (16) from Rizzi 1997), as well as other discourse features like topic and focus. V-to-C movement is then argued to be triggered by interpretable features on Force.

(16) Rizzi (1997: 297)
  [ForceP Force [TopP Top [FocP Foc [TopP Top [FinP Fin IP ]]]]]

This can be contrasted with clauses that disallow MCP, which involve a smaller, or “impoverished” C-domain, in (17), incompatible with illocutionary force, topicalization and focus, as well as with any movement to their dedicated positions in the left-periphery, including V-to-C.

(17) [FinP Fin IP ]

A problem for this perspective arises, however, when we consider factive predicates like discover or realize.

(18) John discovered that [P Anna likes cats].

On the classic view of assertion, given in (13), factive predicates are predicted to disallow embedded assertions, given that factives presuppose that p is true (Kiparsky & Kiparsky 1970; Keenan 1971; Karttunen 1971; 1974). This is because—on the received view of presupposition (Stalnaker 1974; Heim 1982; 1983; 1992)—for a sentence involving a factive predicate to be felicitous, p must be entailed by the context (the intersection of the propositions in the Common Ground; i.e., the worlds in which all of the propositions in the Common Ground are true). That is, p must already be part of the Common Ground. On this view then, factivity is incompatible with the second component of assertion, in (13b); the speaker attempting to add p to the Common Ground. As we saw above, however, V2 and other MCP have been observed to be possible in clauses embedded under at least the doxastic factives.

In contrast, some authors (e.g. De Cuba & Ürögdi 2009; 2010; Haegeman 2010; Haegeman & Ürögdi 2010; Haegeman 2012, and Kastner 2015), have nevertheless claimed—as would be expected given the standard views of factivity and assertion, respectively—that factive verbs as a class disallow MCP. This has been supported by data points such as the following:5

(19) a.    Maki, Kaiser & Ochi (1999: 3)6
    *John regrets that this book Mary read.
  b.    Hegarty (1992: 52; fn. 19)7
    *Mary realizes that this book, John read.

While the above authors take this to be a general empirical claim about MCP, it has gained less traction in the literature on EV2. To our awareness, the only authors to advance this claim are Truckenbrodt (2006) and Reis (1997) in the context of German EV2.8 It is nevertheless important to consider this view seriously for Swedish EV2, both in view of the general question of whether MCP constitute a homogeneous class, and in terms of the more specific question of the type of predicates that allow EV2, specifically in light of the conflicting nature of some of the empirical claims made regarding the distribution of MCP. We return to the question about the role of factivity, and address it empirically in Section 3.1.9

In accounting for their observation that the doxastic factives seem to allow MCP, Hooper & Thompson (1973: 481) claim that while these verbs are presuppositional in the traditional sense, the doxastic factives (like the speech act and doxastic non-factives), “have a parenthetical reading on which the complement proposition is considered the main assertion.” More recently, this idea has been taken up by Jensen & Christensen (2013) in the context of EV2. Rather than using the already theory-laden label of “assertion”, these authors have adopted the notion of the Main Point of the Utterance from Simons (2007). This is (roughly) the content of an utterance which most directly addresses the Question Under Discussion (Roberts 1996; 2012). As illustrated in (20), given the question in (20-Q), the Main Point of Utterance in both (20-A1) and (20-A2) is John is in New York.

(20) Q. Where is John?
  A1. [P He’s in New York.]
  A2. I think that [P he’s in New York].

As observed by Simons (2007), doxastic factives, like the speech act and non-factive doxastic predicates—but apparently unlike the emotive factives—allow the embedded clause to provide the Main Point of the Utterance.

(21) Q.    Where is John?
  A.    I found out that [P he’s in New York].
  A. #I’m happy that [P he’s in New York].

The claim advanced by Jensen & Christensen (2013) is that it is this notion of Main Point content that distinguishes between those embedding environments that allow MCP, and those that do not. On this view, any observed predicate restriction on EV2 is essentially epiphenomenal, reflecting simply the relative ease with which a given predicate may function parenthetically.

This account, however, is problematic for purely empirical reasons. For instance, Wiklund et al. (2009) present judgment data showing that neither is V2 obligatory in these contexts, nor is it ruled out in a context where the embedded proposition is not the Main Point of the Utterance, as illustrated with the question-answer pair in (22).

    1. (22)
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. Varför
    2. why
    1. kom
    2. came
    1. han
    2. he
    1. inte
    2. not
    1. to
    1. festen?
    2. party.DEF
    1. ‘Why didn’t he come to the party?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Kristine
    2. Kristine
    1. sa
    2. said
    1. att
    2. that
    1. han
    2. he
    1. fick
    2. was.allowed
    1. inte.
    2. not
    1. ‘Kristine said that he wasn’t allowed to.’                                     EV2

According to Wiklund et al. (2009), this sentence, in the context of (22-Q), can either be read as ‘he didn’t come to the party because he wasn’t allowed to, as Kristine told me’, or ‘he didn’t come to the party because Kristine said that he wasn’t allowed to go’. However, on a strong version of this hypothesis, the second reading should not be available. On the alternative view advanced by Wiklund et al. (2009), a predicate will allow V2 in its complement if it also allows for the embedded proposition to be the Main Point of the Utterance, which, unlike previous authors, they take to be a matter of selection. Crucially then, there is no direct link between assertion and EV2. Rather, the predicates in (1) select for a larger CP, like that in (16), which is compatible with V-to-C movement, as well as with the illocutionary force of assertion. The predicates in (2) however, select for a smaller CP, as in (17), which they take to be compatible with neither V-to-C, nor with illocutionary force.

However, noting that the critical judgments are subtle and based on the intuitions of only a few speakers, Djärv, Heycock & Rohde (2017) tested experimentally whether participants’ judgments of acceptability for sentences with EV2 in Swedish were sensitive to this type of context manipulation. The form of the manipulation they used is illustrated with the English examples in (23). The prediction was that EV2 should be acceptable in contexts like (23a), but not in contexts like (23b).

(23) Swedish (Djärv et al. 2017: 6)
  a. Q. Why didn’t Kate come to the party? [Main Point: EC]
    A. John thinks that [Pshe’s left town].  
  b. Q. Why didn’t John invite Kate to the party? [Main Point: MC]
    A. John thinks that [Pshe’s left town].  

Their experiment, which was a judgment study, manipulated Main Point status [matrix clause; embedded clause], predicate type [Speech Act; Doxastic Non-factive; Doxastic Factive; Emotive Factive], and word order (V≺Neg; Neg≺V). They found a main effect of word order such that V3 (subject-adverb-verb order) was rated overall higher than V2 (p < 0.001), as well as a significant effect of predicate type (p < 0.001): speech act predicates and doxastic factives were rated higher than the doxastic non-factives and the emotive factives (in line with corpus results from Danish cited in Jensen & Christensen 2013). However, there was neither a main effect of Main Point status (p = 0.88), nor was there an interaction with Main Point status (p > 0.75), contrary to an account where V2 is driven by the asserted status of the embedded proposition.

These results are problematic for the view that MCP and EV2 are driven by the Main Point status of the embedded proposition. Rather, their results seem more in line with a lexical licensing account, whereby the acceptability of EV2 is driven purely by the type of embedding predicate, such as that advanced by Wiklund et al. (2009). Here, EV2 is licensed only by certain predicates, and is not associated with a particular discourse status. Although this account appears to correctly capture the pattern of data seen above, this type of account leaves open the question of exactly what distinguishes the cases where V2 does occur and when it does not. That is, if we adopt this view, we seem to be forced to adopt the view that EV2 is truly optional.

Finally, recall the first component of assertion, given in (13a); that the speaker is committed to p. We noted above that the Common Ground component of assertion, in (13b), is problematic given factive predicates. A number of authors, however, have argued that what is relevant for the licensing of EV2 is in fact only the criterion in (13a). Truckenbrodt (2006), building on Wechsler (1991), argues in the context of German V2 that EV2 is possible as long as someone in the context (either the speaker or the matrix clause subject) believes that p is true.10 (See also Wiklund 2010; Julien 2015; Woods 2016a; b for different versions of this general perspective.) Evidence against such a view, however, comes from Gärtner & Michaelis (2010), looking at German V2. They observe that although in a sentence involving matrix clause disjunction, the speaker is committed to neither of the disjuncts, V2 is nevertheless well-formed (and in fact obligatory!) in such sentences:

    1. (24)
    1. German (Gärtner & Michaelis 2010: 4)
    1. In
    2. in
    1. Berlin
    2. Berlin
    1. schneit
    2. snows
    1. es
    2. it
    1. oder
    2. or
    1. in
    2. in
    1. Potsdam
    2. Potsdam
    1. scheint
    2. shines
    1. die
    2. the
    1. Sonne.
    2. sun
    1. ‘It is snowing in Berlin or the sun is shining in Potsdam.’

The same is also true in Swedish:

    1. (25)
    1. Swedish
    1. Antingen
    2. either
    1. snöar
    2. snows
    1. det
    2. it
    1. i
    2. in
    1. Umeå,
    2. Umeå
    1. eller
    2. or
    1. so
    1. skiner
    2. shines
    1. solen
    2. sun.DEF
    1. i
    2. in
    1. Skellefteå.
    2. Skellefteå
    1. ‘It is ether snowing in Umeå or the sun is shining in Skellefteå.’

Gärtner & Michaelis (2010) present a view according to which V2 involves a weaker notion of assertion than that given in (13); rather than operating at the level of speech acts, they take the relevant notion of context update to be one which operates only at the propositional level. Their analysis of a sentence like (24) is given in (26):

(26) [[p-V2 or q-V2]] = [ p ∩ CG ] ∪ [ q ∩ CG ]

Noting however, that their account nevertheless over-generates, in the case of matrix negation and conditionals, neither of which allow V2, they add a so called “progressivity requirement on assertive update”:

Progressive update (Gärtner & Michaelis 2010: 9)

“An assertive update CG’ of a common ground CG by an utterance ud containing meaning components ▶ϕ1 … ▶ϕn is progressive if CG’ ⊆ eq [CG ∩ (ϕ1 ∪ … ∪ ϕn)].”

They further state that “Progressive update captures the intuition that (dependent) root phenomena in general, and V2-declaratives in particular, come with an informativity requirement related to providing “new information”” (Gärtner & Michaelis 2010: 10).

In this section, we discussed different accounts of the type of interpretative effects associated with EV2 (and MCP more broadly). We noted that previously reported (experimental and judgment) data on Swedish EV2 only appears to be compatible with an account, such as that in Wiklund et al. (2009), whereby EV2 is licensed, but not obligatory, under certain predicate classes ((1), (2)). However, we noted that these judgments about EV2 (and MCP more generally) are subtle and appear to vary across speakers, both in terms of the acceptability of EV2 and any proposed associated semantic-pragmatic correlates. Given the current state of the literature, it is possible that there are other factors beyond the type of embedding predicate—either grammatical, contextual, or processing-based—that may influence the use and distribution of the two variants. The remainder of this paper sets to tease such potential factors apart.

Section 2.1 details the methodology for extracting corpus data. Section 2.2 is devoted to testing various processing-based hypotheses, and Section 3 to testing the predictions made by the two types of lexical licensing accounts discussed above. We show that the actual patterns of usage are not compatible with either of these accounts. Neither are they compatible with a processing or usage-based account of EV2. From considering the types of embedded environments in which V2 is licensed, we arrive at a pragmatic licensing account, whereby EV2 is licensed by discourse novelty. This view then, ends up being entirely compatible with that proposed by Gärtner & Michaelis (2010), developed to account for the distribution of main clause V2 in German.11 The following section details the methods of the corpus study.

2 Manifestations of grammar in usage

2.1 Corpus methods

We extracted natural language usage data from several very large Swedish corpora (Borin, Forsberg & Roxendal 2012) totaling 12,873,778 sentences, subsequently referred to as BFR (from the authors Borin, Forsberg and Roxendal). BFR also represents a balanced set of genres ranging from informal blogs and forums to formal academic writing and government texts. These are summarized in Table 1.

Genre Corpus Sentences Proportion Non-ambiguous p(ev2)

Blogs and Forums Familjeliv-känsliga 5971907 0.1163 0.0636
Familjeliv-nöje 458699 0.0809 0.0555
Familjeliv-adoption 77008 0.0936 0.0545
Familjeliv-expert 57478 0.0966 0.0522
Bloggmix 2713376 0.0765 0.0502
Flashback-Politik 2841872 0.0972 0.0457
Historical Tidning 1870 17084 0.06 0.0724
Tidning 1860 58839 0.062 0.0512
Academic Sweacsam 52678 0.0736 0.0375
Humanities 60931 0.0741 0.0283
Goverment Rd-bet 372054 0.0698 0.0163
Rd-ds 172657 0.0848 0.0141
Rd-fpm 5259 0.0686 0.0138
Rd-skfr 81800 0.0865 0.0098
Accessible Åttasidor 8059 0.0768 0.0081

Table 1

Rates of EV2 across corpora of varying formality. “Genre” represents a coarse categorization of corpora by source material. “Corpus” is the division provided within BFR. “Sentences” is the total number of sentences extracted from the original sub-corpus. “Proportion Non-ambiguous” represents the proportion of sentences within each subcorpus over which our extraction algorithm is able to apply the diagnostic for estimating EV2 vs. in-situ status. “p(ev2)” is the proportion of such sentences surfacing with EV2 order rather than embedded in-situ. Note that while the proportion of diagnostic cases is more or less steady by corpus, there is a clear effect of genre on the rates of EV2. Formal or more heavily prescriptive content has lower rates of EV2 compared to colloquial and informal material. Even in the most formal styles EV2 is still consistently attested.

Owing to the Zipfian distribution of frequencies inherent to language use (Yang 2013; Piantadosi 2014), the majority of sentences only include a limited number of highly frequent verb types, with most predicates occurring only rarely. As such, the large sample of extracted data is required for the type of analysis presented in this paper. This is particularly relevant since we find that only about 5% to 10% of sentences provide a diagnostic test of EV2 status,12 and of those, EV2 order is only used approximately 5% of the time. This means that one would need to analyze on the order of 40,000 sentences to encounter 100 diagnosably positive examples.

As the goal is to examine sentences with the potential for EV2 order (regardless of whether or not that was actually realized), we created a subcorpus for analysis according to the following method.13 Data was collapsed according to the lemma tags which were automatically assigned in BFR. The use of lemma here does not reflect a theoretical assumption regarding underlying roots, but is simply a limited technical implementation aimed at providing a single representation across surface-divergent inflected forms.14 The analysis was also replicated over raw inflected verb forms and we did not identify any major qualitative differences. However, the use of lemmas reduces data sparsity; even in a large corpus many possible inflected forms are unattested, and so grouping together inflectional variants can alleviate that. BFR data are not parsed and automatic syntactic parsing faces numerous technical limitations on data of this diverse type and size (Sekine 1997; McClosky, Charniak & Johnson 2010). Instead, we utilized several filters over BFR-provided part-of-speech tags (Brill 2000) in order to differentiate cases in which an embedded verb has remained in situ rather than undergone V-to-C movement.

For technical simplicity, we only consider single, rather than multiple, embeddings (approximately 20% of all sentences with the overt complementizer att contain more than one instance). Sentences are further excluded if the complementizer is directly followed by a verb, with no intervening potential subject information, since this is indicative of a non-finite complement rather than a tensed embedded clause. Additionally, we exclude sentences in which the matrix verb is the copula, since these can correspond to a broad range of predicate types. A few additional filters exclude potential false-positives such as future-marking kommer att (‘will’), adverbial clauses involving eftersom/(där)för att (‘because’), and embedded clauses with relative clause subjects, as these are problematic for unambiguously identifying the tensed verb of the embedded clause.

This set of embedded complement sentences is diagnosed for EV2 status by considering the relative linear order of the embedded verb and negation (as outlined in Section 1.3). Theoretically, this diagnostic can be applied with any adverb in the embedded clause, however for tractability we limit our diagnostics to negation (inte, icke, etc.).

This results in a set of EV2/in-situ sentences which is necessarily a subset of the total instances in the data. However, there is no theoretical reason to expect factors such as non-negation adverbials or multiple embedding to have a profound and significant impact on the realization of EV2. Limiting our search to single-embedded sentences with negation allows technical tractability and high-confidence in the quality of output data while still providing a representative sample of over one million diagnosed sentences.

A range of statistical information was additionally extracted for each sentence and for each lemma overall. This includes frequencies, lexical semantic information such as [H&T] class (see Section 1.2),15 polarity information, and several conditional probability events (e.g. matrix introducing embedded clause, matrix introducing EV2 clause, embedded predicate surfacing in embedded clause, embedded predicate surfacing with EV2 order, etc.) A full enumeration of extracted information is available in the source code.

2.2 Lexical information and variation

At a descriptive level, Table 1 provides a summary of EV2 by corpus. We find that overall rates of EV2 are graded by formality, with more colloquial Swedish such as blog and forum text exhibiting higher rates than formal writing. This is consistent with Heycock & Wallenberg (2013) who find comparable rates in blogs and spoken caregiver data compared with novels. This potentially reflects a sociolinguistic property of a prescription against EV2. It is striking, though, that EV2 appears stable diachronically, without a significant change between historical newspaper texts dating back to the 1860’s and modern online forums.16 This stability suggests that synchronic proportions of use do not represent a case of language change in progress, but rather a fact about the interaction of grammatical representation and use in context. The majority of our subsequent analyses were conducted primarily on the Flashback-politik subset of our data. This was done since it relates more closely to spoken dialogue compared with some of the other written material.

If we examine the attested likelihood of EV2 order by matrix predicate, we notice a fairly large degree of variation (Table 2). While the overall rate of EV2 varies by genre (see Table 1), there is general cross-corpus consistency in the relative rates of EV2 for individual verbs. This raises an important question of how to understand language usage data: Should we take any observed rate of use to be definitional? In other words, is the fact that glömma (‘forget’) introduces EV2 at four times the rate of tro (‘believe’) acquired from direct input by learners and subsequently recapitulated for the next generation? Or do rates of EV2 emerge in some other capacity? More generally, what can we learn by different ways of modeling usage data?

Verb Gloss p(ev2)

drömma ‘dream’ 0.00
glömma ‘forget’ 0.12
höra ‘hear’ 0.08
säga ‘say’ 0.07
tro ‘believe’ 0.03
tycka ‘think’ 0.06

Table 2

Sample values of probability of EV2 by predicate. Data from the Flashback-Politik corpus.

Previous accounts of similar data (Bresnan et al. 2007) have attempted to demonstrate that usage patterns are predictable, and thus worth studying on top of traditional grammatically judgment data. Yet, we should note that a statistical model which predicts linguistic output with high accuracy is not, in and of itself, an explanatory theory. It is insufficient to model the outcome of syntactic optionality unless we can move towards understanding why correlated variables have predictive power. Statistical tools can only verify, but not produce, empirical hypotheses.

We start from the premise that usage statistics need not be the thorn in the side of generative syntactic and semantic theory, but rather an informative window onto the underlying representations; thus flipping an argument typically taken by usage-based linguists (see Du Bois 1985; Hopper 1987; Bybee 2006, a.o.). Rather than advance the claim that “discourse use shapes grammar” (under which rates of use serve as a direct proxy for grammatical representation), the EV2 alternation presents a case study in how grammatical factors can influence rates of use in discourse instead of the inverse. In particular, we are able to evaluate specific grammatical hypotheses quantitatively.

2.3 Usage-based and processing accounts

Under a usage-based framework, grammar is taken to be simply the cognitive organization of one’s experience with language. As such, factors like frequency of use of particular constructions would be predicted to have an impact on their representation. Bybee (2006: 714) summarizes the usage-based view as follows: “[Grammar] does not have structure a priori, but rather the apparent structure emerges from the repetition of many local events.” This family of accounts is tightly linked to explanations of optionality and usage rates at the psycholinguistic level. Under this psycholinguistic view, “not only do the syntactic privileges of the to-be-produced lemmas affect syntactic structure, but so too can the timing of lemma selection have important effects on the syntactic structure of a sentence.” (Ferreira & Dell 2000: 299). The intuition can be captured by imagining that a speaker wants to recount story of the outcome of the race between the tortoise and the hare in Aesop’s famous fable using a verb like defeat. In principle, this could be encoded through either can active or passive structure. If the word hare is significantly faster to activate from memory than tortoise then it would be more efficient for the speaker to output that constituent first using the passive (the hare was defeated by the tortoise) compared with the active (the tortoise defeated the hare). Otherwise the already-retrieved hare would need to sit around in a buffer waiting to be output until the rest of the sentence had been uttered.

This psycholinguistic account has been applied to similar cases of “syntactic optionality” such as that-omission17 (Ferreira & Dell 2000), and makes straightforward predictions with respect to EV2 in Swedish: there is a “race” between outputting the adverb (in this case negation) and the embedded predicate. If the embedded predicate is activated first then it is output before the adverb (EV2 order) whereas if negation is activated first then it is output before the predicate (V-in situ order). On this theory, any factors which correlate with faster word activation will also be proxies for the corresponding output order. Such factors are well-studied empirically and include frequency (Ferreira & Dell 2000; Bock & Levelt 2002) and predictability of syntactic structure (Jaeger 2010; Hale 2014; Caplan 2018).18

In light of this, it is worth evaluating the fit of the same factors in the case of EV2. A processing or usage-based account should predict a connection between the frequency with which matrix predicates introduce embedded clauses (since it should speed up access of subsequent required embedded structure) and rates of EV2. However, as is clear in Figure 1, there is no relationship between the probability of a verb introducing an embedded clause and the probability of EV2.

Figure 1 

Probability of EV2 (X-axis) against the probability of introducing an embedded clause for each matrix predicate. This is limited to verbs which have a minimum frequency of 1000, introduce an EV2 clause at least 5 times, and which have occurred in a diagnostic sentence at least 100 times in the Flashback-politik corpus. There is no significant correlation between embedded clause-taking and the likelihood of EV2 order.

This is confirmed by a linear regression model in which probability of EV2 (conditioned on matrix verb) is the dependent measure and probability of embedded clause (conditioned on same matrix verb) is the independent measure (Table 3). A similar prediction might be made within the embedded clauses themselves—there might be some connection between the frequency of a verb appearing in an embedded clause and EV2. This prediction is not borne out; there is no significant correlation between the frequency with which a verb appears in an embedded clause and the rate at which it occurs in an EV2-clause (Table 3). Nor is there any correlation between the total frequency of a verb and the rate at which it occurs in an EV2-clause. Analyses are stable across corpora, but results below are reported only from the Flashback-politik corpus.

Dependent Factor Estimate Std. Er. t-value P(>|t|)

P(EV2|matrix) P(EC|matrix) –0.0126 0.0201 –0.627 0.532
P(EV2|embed) P(EC|embed) 9.583e-08 2.443e-07 0.392 0.696
P(EV2|embed) Freq(embed) –8.922e-09 1.593e-08 –0.560 0.576

Table 3

There is no correlation between likelihood of EV2 order and the probability of the matrix predicate introducing an embedded clause. Nor is there any correlation between likelihood of an embedded verb taking EV2 order and the frequency with which that verb appears in embedded clauses. Analysis is limited to verbs which occurred in a diagnostic sentence at least 100 times in the Flashback-politik corpus.

It is still conceivable that an underlying relation is hidden by the fact that the majority of lemmas are never attested with EV2. However, this is not the case; these analyses are robust even if limited only to verbs attested as taking EV2 order at least five times (Table 4).

Dependent Factor Estimate Std. Er. t-value P(>|t|)

P(EV2|matrix) P(EC|matrix) –0.005197 0.017014 –0.305 0.76
P(EV2|embed) P(EC|embed) 1.950e-08 2.874e-07 0.068 0.946
P(EV2|embed) Freq(embed) –1.495e-08 1.760e-08 –0.849 0.397

Table 4

There is no correlation between likelihood of EV2 order and the probability of the matrix predicate introducing an embedded clause. Nor is there any correlation between likelihood of an embedded verb taking EV2 order and the frequency with which that verb appears in embedded clauses or the frequency of that verb overall. Analysis is limited to verbs which occurred in a diagnostic sentence at least 100 times and occur with EV2 order at least five times in the Flashback-politik corpus.

Another possibility is that rates of EV2 are a psycholinguistic by-product of speakers “forgetting” that they’re in an embedded clause, something akin to a speech error or disfluency. It is impossible to directly quantify the degree of disfluency based on text alone, but we can take an estimatable proxy. If a large amount of syntactic material or information content intervenes between the matrix verb and the beginning of the embedded clause, the processing system might be more likely to reset to applying main-clause syntax. If this were the case, we would predict an increase in intervening material before the complementizer to correlate with increased rates of EV2. In practice however, there is no clear relation between intervening material and EV2 (Figure 2).

Figure 2 

Length of material (number of words) intervening between the matrix predicate and the complementizer (X-axis) against the rate of EV2 (Y-axis). There is no overall effect of intervening material on rates of EV2, contra the predictions of a sentence production account. Data from the Flashback-Politik corpus.

What should be made of this lack of processing-level effects on EV2? The fact that we do not find evidence for a connection between frequency or predictability factors and rates of EV2 order are less a failure to replicate past work (Ferreira & Dell 2000; Bresnan et al. 2007), and more an identification that whatever components drive the realization of EV2 vs. in-situ order are grammatical factors, rather than psychological-production ones. Probabilistic effects are not a homogeneous set and not all “optionality” represents the same kind of phenomenon. While a term like “optional” may imply free and unconditioned variation, research on this topic has found underlying conditioning factors to range from sociolinguistic (Elsness 1984), to morpho-syntactic (Jeoung 2018), to psycholinguistic (Ferreira & Dell 2000). See Tamminga et al. (2016) for an overview of such contrasts. Simply because a sample of language use is probabilistic in nature does not necessarily mean that the underlying linguistic representation is itself probabilistic, contra the usage-based view that rates of particular lexical co-occurrence is also part of the underlying representation (Bybee & Eddington 2006).

We argue that the consistent by-predicate rates of EV2 do not require speakers to be implicitly sensitive to such probabilities, but rather these stable rates of variation emerge as an interaction between meaning and context. A speaker doesn’t need an internal counter to tell them to utter a particular syntactic variant (EV2 vs. V-in situ) with say twice as often as with deny. Rather, the relative rates of EV2 across predicates arise in the interaction between lexical properties of the matrix predicate, the discourse function associated with EV2, and elements of the discourse context. In the following sections, we evaluate several theories about the discourse function of EV2, and the types of lexical properties that are relevant to the licensing of EV2.

3 Lexical accounts of EV2

In this section we test the predictions of the two types of lexical licensing accounts discussed above. First, in Section 3.1, a set of accounts according to which the derivation of MCP (including V2) is blocked in certain environments, defined in terms of the presuppositional requirements of the matrix predicate; specifically under factive predicates. Secondly, in Section 3.2, accounts according to which V2 is available, but entirely optional, under certain predicate types; i.e., those that (independently) license embedded assertions. We test the predictions made by these accounts against BFR data, showing that for neither of these accounts are their predictions straightforwardly borne out.

3.1 Factivity

On the type of account articulated in De Cuba & Ürögdi (2009); Haegeman & Ürögdi (2010); Haegeman (2014); Kastner (2015), among others, factive verbs are predicted to categorically disallow EV2, as a type of Main Clause Phenomena (see discussion in Section 1.4). We noted that this line of analysis is at odds with the observation made by Hooper & Thompson (1973) and subsequent work, that the doxastic factives allow MCP and V2 complements. Nevertheless, given that judgments in this area appear to be subtle and prone to variability, we wanted to test the empirical claim that factive and non-factive predicates differ fundamentally in their ability to license MCP in the context of EV2, against the large scale data available in the BRF-corpora. If these views were correct, we would expect significantly lower rates of EV2 under factive than under non-factive verbs.

However, as shown in Figure 3, we find that factivity does not influence the rates of EV2. In fact, from this plot, it looks as though factive verbs (the gold bar) show slightly higher rates of EV2 than the non-factive verbs (the gray bar); however, this difference is not statistically significant.

Figure 3 

Rates of V2 under factive vs. non-factive verbs; plot based on data from the Flashback-Politik corpus (2,841,872 sentences).

We also ran a Wilcoxon Rank Sum test (a non-parametric alternative to the two-sample t-test), which allowed us to reject the hypothesis that the distribution of EV2 sentences is different for factive as opposed to non-factive verbs (W = 748, p = 0.6949). This was true for all corpora that we investigated.

3.2 (Optional) lexical licensing

On the view advanced by Wiklund et al. (2009), discussed in Section 1.4, EV2 is optional in the complements of certain predicate types, namely those in (1): speech act predicates, doxastic non-factives, and doxastic factives; but not in the complements of the predicate classes in (2): emotive factives and response predicates.

In terms of the distribution of EV2 in the corpus, this account predicts that the relevant factor determining the rates of EV2 is simply membership of a particular lexical class. Moreover, given that pragmatic factors play no explanatory role on this account, we expect that if it were correct, then the rates of EV2 across predicate classes should be essentially constant, both across different discourse types—represented by the different genres of the corpora (see Table 1), as well as across the different predicates within a given predicate class.

Contrary to the first of these two predictions, we find that, while the distribution of EV2 to some extent varies across predicate classes along the lines predicted by this account (overall higher rates of V2 in the complements of speech act predicates, doxastic non-factives, and doxastic factives), the rates of EV2 across predicate classes varied substantially across different corpora, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 

Rates of EV2 from three of the BRF-corpora. From top to bottom: Familjeliv-känsliga (family-oriented discussion forum; 5,971,907 sentences), Flashback-Politik (online forum for political discussion; 2,841,872 sentences), and Rd-bet (government texts; 372,054 sentences).

It is also worth noting that in neither corpus do the rates of EV2 straightforwardly track the rates of EV2 found in Jensen & Christensen’s (2013) Danish corpus, which were also reflected in the judgment data from Djärv, Heycock & Rohde (2017), where the speech act and doxastic factives showed the highest rates/judgments of acceptability for EV2, followed by the doxastic non-factives and the emotive factives.

Moreover, contrary to the second prediction made by this account, we also found that there was significant variability within the different verb classes: Figure 5 shows the variable rates of EV2 for the 21 speech act predicates in our data set. Note that similar variation was found across the other verb classes as well.

Figure 5 

Probability of EV2 by lemma within the class of speech act verbs (the x-axis represents the 21 different verbs in this class ordered by proportion of EV2); plot based on data from a corpus of text from a political online forum (Flashback-Politik; 2,841,872 sentences).

We take this as evidence against this type of strong lexical licensing account, whereby membership of a given lexical class is what determines whether EV2 is available or not.

In Sections 3.1 and 3.2, we tested the predictions made by the two types of “selection-based accounts” discussed in Section 1.4 against large-scale data from the BRF corpus: one according to which V2 should not be available in the complements of factive verbs; and one whereby V2 is available, but entirely optional, in the complements of certain predicate types (1), but not others (2). We found that for neither of the two accounts were their predictions straightforwardly borne out. Rather, the distribution illustrated in Figure 4 suggests to us that, in addition to the lexical semantics of the embedding predicate, discourse factors play a significant role in driving the distribution of EV2, given that the different corpora can be understood to represent different discourse types. In particular, the distribution we observe looks like what we would expect if it were the case that EV2-clauses are associated with some kind of pragmatic meaning; the use of which is influenced by (but not solely determined by) the meaning of the embedding predicate, along with the type of discourse context in which the sentence is uttered. In the following section, we suggest that this pragmatic meaning is whether or not the embedded proposition p is discourse-new (Section 4). Subsequently we present further experimental (Section 5) and corpus (Section 6) results supporting this hypothesis.

4 EV2 and discourse novelty

To account for the interaction of discourse context and lexical semantics illustrated in Figure 4, we propose that:

(27) a. EV2-clauses have some interpretive effect. The distribution or use of this interpretive effect is influenced both by:
    i. the meaning of the embedding predicate;
    ii. the type of discourse context in which the sentence is uttered.
  b.   The proposition denoted by an EV2 clause is interpreted as constituting discourse-new information.

Initial motivation for this proposal comes from considering the kinds of discourse contexts in which the relevant predicate types can felicitously be used. We observe that the different types of predicates vary in their ability to introduce entirely new information into the discourse; essentially, whether or not p has been previously discussed by the speaker and hearer. As shown in (28), this ability appears to correlate with the availability of EV2.19

(28) [Uttered out of the blue:]
  Guess what —/You know what —
  a.    John told me that [P Bill and Anna broke up]. ✔V2
  b.    John thinks that [P Bill and Anna broke up]. ✔V2
  c.    John discovered that [P Bill and Anna broke up]. ✔V2
  d. #John appreciates that [P Bill and Anna broke up]. ✗V2
  e. #John doubts that [P Bill and Anna broke up]. ✗V2

Like the approach of Jensen & Christensen (2013), which we discussed and rejected in Section 1.4 on independent grounds, this proposal also relies on the notion of a Common Ground update. However, the type of context update is different in the two cases. In fact, the proposal advanced here is similar to that of Haegeman & Ürögdi (2010); Haegeman (2014); Kastner (2015) a.o., in that EV2 is taken not to be licensed in contexts where the embedded proposition p is discourse-old information.2021 However, the current proposal differs crucially in terms of our assumptions about factive predicates: whereas the above authors take all factive predicates to require p to be Common Ground, we follow Simons (2007) in her claim that the two components of factivity (that p is true, and that p is Common Ground) must be dissociated.22 Simons’ argumentation builds on question/answer sequences of the type we saw in (20). However, (28c) makes the same point: here, the embedded proposition p is clearly taken to be true by the speaker. However, there is no sense in which p is taken to be Common Ground. Note further that although our proposal relates crucially to the notion of a Common Ground update (it is at least plausible that speakers contribute new information to a discourse in an attempt to add that information to the Common Ground), it is not the case that EV2 is ruled out only in contexts in which p is Common Ground. The response predicates (like in (28e)) make this case the most clearly: here, p cannot be understood to be discourse-new information; however, there is also no sense in which the speaker is necessarily committed to p. What seems to be required here, for p to be discourse old in the sense that is relevant here, is that ?p (i.e., {p, ¬p}) is present as a question in the discourse. In that sense then, we take p to be discourse-old, though not Common Ground. In relation to this point, we might also note that the notion of discourse update that we have in mind is in fact different from that in Simons (2007) (illustrated in (20) and (23a)–(23b)): here, the embedded proposition provides a Common Ground update, relative to a particular Question Under Discussion. As we saw in our discussion in Section 1.4, this distinction does not seem to be what is relevant to the licensing of EV2. The pragmatic notion we propose to be relevant to EV2 is in fact a stronger notion of discourse novelty, where not just the proposition p itself is new to the discourse, but where the question of whether p? constitutes a discourse new issue.

However, the lexical semantics of the embedding predicate is only one factor that constrains the ability of an embedded proposition to be presented as discourse-new information. The type of discourse, along with other properties of the sentence, matter too. The following example from the Flashback-Politik corpus (a political forum), involving the response verb acceptera (‘accept’) illustrates the latter point:

    1. (29)
    1. Swedish
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. Kan
    2. can
    1. du
    2. you
    1. inte
    2. not
    1. bara
    2. just
    1. slappna
    2. chill
    1. av
    2. out
    1. och
    2. and
    1. acceptera
    2. accept
    1. att
    2. that
    1. socialisterna
    2. socialists.DEF
    1. kan
    2. can
    1. inte
    2. not
    1. vinna
    2. win
    1. alla
    2. all
    1. gånger?
    2. times
    1. ‘Why can’t you just relax and accept that the socialists aren’t going to win every time?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Acceptera
    2. accept
    1. att
    2. that
    1. du
    2. you
    1. kan
    2. can
    1. inte
    2. not
    1. älska
    2. love
    1. alla
    2. everyone
    1. men
    2. but
    1. du
    2. you
    1. kan
    2. can
    1. inte
    2. not
    1. hata
    2. hate
    1. alla
    2. everyone
    1. heller
    2. either
    1. ‘Accept that you can’t love everyone, but you can’t hate everyone either.’

What appears to be happening in these cases is indeed that the speakers are presenting the embedded propositions (‘the socialists can’t win every time’, and ‘you can’t love everyone, but you can’t hate everyone either’) as new information, in an attempt to update the Common Ground.

If the relevant dimension is truly the discourse status of the embedded proposition, the issue arises of how to test the hypothesis against corpus data, given that there is no direct way of measuring the discourse status of a given proposition in a corpus—especially not in one of this scale. However, it turns out that we can test whether or not the embedded proposition may constitute discourse-new information in a way that is quantifiable—but nevertheless independent of the identity of the matrix predicate—thus providing an independent test for our hypothesis. What we observe is that the speech act predicates and the doxastic non-factives, under negation, take on the property of requiring their complement to be discourse-old (similarly to the response predicates and the emotive factives), as illustrated in (30).

(30) [Uttered out of the blue:]
  Guess what —/You know what
  a.    John told me that [P Bill and Anna broke up].
  b.    John thinks that [P Bill and Anna broke up].
  c. #John didn’t tell me that [P Bill and Anna broke up].
  d. #John doesn’t think that [P Bill and Anna broke up].
  e. #John appreciates that [P Bill and Anna broke up].
  f. #John doubts that [P Bill and Anna broke up].
  g. #John doesn’t appreciate that [P Bill and Anna broke up].
  h. #John doesn’t doubt that [P Bill and Anna broke up].

Of course, as has been observed in previous work (e.g. Truckenbrodt 2006; Gärtner & Michaelis 2010), negating these verbs also negates their belief components. This has been taken to support a view such as that discussed in Section 1.4, whereby V2 is licensed by a belief context. However, we saw above that V2 disjunction presents a problem for any version of this view. The emotive factives provide an additional problem for that approach, given that in both positive and negative contexts, do they give rise to the obligatory inference that the matrix subject, and typically also the speaker, believe that the embedded proposition is true (a property known as projection). Nevertheless, these verbs show the lowest rates of EV2 in the BRF-corpora (see Figure 4 in Section 3.2).

Based on this observation then, our hypothesis now predicts that the speech act and non-factive doxastic predicates, when negated, should show equally low rates of EV2 as the response predicates and the emotive factives (in both polarities), as shown in (31).

(31) EV2: predicted distribution (verb type × negation interaction)
  a.    John told me that [P Bill and Anna broke up]. ✔V2
  b.    John thinks that [P Bill and Anna broke up]. ✔V2
  c. #John didn’t tell me that [P Bill and Anna broke up]. ✗V2
  d. #John doesn’t think that [P Bill and Anna broke up]. ✗V2
  e. #John appreciates that [P Bill and Anna broke up]. ✗V2
  f. #John doubts that [P Bill and Anna broke up]. ✗V2
  g. #John doesn’t appreciate that [P Bill and Anna broke up]. ✗V2
  h. #John doesn’t doubt that [P Bill and Anna broke up]. ✗V2

Before testing these predictions in the BRF-corpus, we wanted to make sure that this was indeed a robust property of these predicate classes, beyond our own intuitions about the particular verbs in (31). To this end, we carried out an experimental judgment task, which we describe in the following section.

5 Experiment: Negation & discourse novelty

The predictions illustrated in (31) are based on the observation that the speech act predicates and the doxastic non-factives, under negation, require their complement to be discourse-old. To make sure that this observation is empirically robust, we ran an experiment probing the effect of negation on whether or not p can be interpreted as discourse-new information under the different predicates types.

5.1 Methods

5.1.1 Design and materials

The experiment employed the “Guess what” test used above; here, framed in the context of a conversation between two friends, as shown in (32).

(32) Two friends, Tom and Sue, run into each other. Tom says to Sue:
  Guess what! I just ran into Aaron, and he VERBS/DOESN’T VERB that [P Joel left his wife].

To measure the perceived discourse status of p, the participants were asked to complete a statement in which they had to rate on a Likert scale how likely they thought it was that the speaker and the hearer had talked about p before (7 = not likely; 1 = very likely), as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6 

Screenshot of an experimental trial.

Since our predictions were specifically about the interaction of negation with the speech act predicates and the doxastic non-factives, compared to the emotive factives and the response predicates, we did not include the doxastic factives in this experiment. We included three verbs from each lexical class:23

(33) a. Speech act predicates: say, mention, tell (me)
  b. Doxastic non-factives: believe, think, assume
  c. Response predicates: accept, deny, admit
  d. Emotive factives: appreciate, regret, resent

The experiment included 24 critical items, and 24 fillers, plus two practise items that were excluded from the analysis. Each item consisted of one verb and one (unique) complement clause, with variations in the two polarity conditions: positive (no matrix negation) vs. negative (with matrix negation). Whereas each embedded clause content occurred only in one item, every verb occurred in two items, so that each participant would see all conditions; [speech act vs. doxastic non-factive vs. emotive factive vs. response] × [negative vs. positive], across items, but with the specific content of the embedded clause shown only in one condition, counterbalanced across subjects using a latin-square design. Each subject thus saw each verb twice, once in the negative and once in the positive polarity (with different contents for the interlocutors and embedded clauses). Since there were three verbs per verb class, each participant saw each predicate type six times (three positive and three negative).

We also included baseline floor and ceiling conditions for discourse-old vs. new status, as illustrated in (34). There were eight items of each kind.

(35) Control conditions:
  a. Discourse-new baseline (predict high ratings):
    Guess what! Joel left his wife.
  b. Discourse-old baseline (predict low ratings):
    Guess what! John thinks, like you do, that Joel left his wife.

Additionally, the experiment included eight pure fillers, involving conditionals (35). For these, the participants rated the likelihood of the proposition in the antecedent being old vs. new (here, that Nadine travelled to Asia).

(36) Guess what! I just ran into Lisa, and she said that if Nadine travelled to Asia, then she must have lots of interesting stories to tell.

Importantly, the Guess what experiment was run in English rather than Swedish with translations of the original predicates. While translations are inherently noisy—fine-grained denotations or associations may differ cross-linguistically—what’s crucial is that status in particular predicate classes of interest is held constant. Conducting the experiment in English provides a more rigorous test of the formal properties under consideration. We remove any potential lexically specific confounds present between acceptability judgements in English and rates of EV2 in Swedish; the only properties shared between translations are abstract semantic ones rather than Swedish specific distributional information (frequency, rates of EV2, etc.) Any additional noise imparted through the translation process can only make it more difficult to establish statistical significance to this connection rather than easier (hence providing a test which is both theoretically and empirically stronger).24

The experiment was implemented in Ibex, and took 10–15 minutes to complete. An archived version of the experiment is available on: http://spellout.net/ibexexps/SchwarzLab/DiscFam.Archive/experiment.html?id=archive.

5.1.2 Participants

56 undergraduate students, recruited through the University of Pennsylvania’s Psychology Department’s subject pool (SONA), participated in the study for course credit. They were given a link to the experiment to take it online in their own time. Based on responses in the control conditions, we excluded the responses from five participants who appeared to have reversed the scale, leaving us with the responses from 51 participants.

5.1.3 Analysis

The data was analyzed in R (version 3.5.0). To test our predictions, we carried out a regression by fitting a linear mixed effects model, using lmer from the lme4 package. The package lmerTest was used to generate p-values. The dependent variable was the perceived likelihood of p being new information. The model included Predicate Type, Polarity type, and their interaction (base levels: predicate type = Speech Act; polarity = Positive) as fixed effects. It also included a random intercept for participant and item. We also ran a model predicting the responses from the individual predicates (Verb Lemma). The conditional fillers (35) were excluded from the analysis.

To identify outliers we created two sets of subjects based on their responses in the two control conditions (34): (a) subjects whose average response were more than one standard deviation below the mean in the discourse-new condition, and (b) subjects whose average response were more than one standard deviation above the mean in the discourse-old condition. We then took the intersection of the two sets, thus giving us only the participants who were outliers for both control conditions (n = 5). Thus, the subjects that we excluded from the analysis were those who deviated from the mean by more than one standard deviation in the “unexpected” directions for the two control conditions. To compare the data with and without the outliers, we used r.squaredGLMM from the MuMin package, to calculate the (marginal and conditional) R squared values for a model with the full data set (n = 56), and the subsetted data set (n = 51), to determine how well the model fits the data. R squared is a statistical measure of how close the data are to the fitted regression line (R squared = Explained variation/Total variation). The data was plotted using ggplot from the ggplot2 package; error bars represent the standard error of the mean.

5.1.4 Predictions

We predict that matrix negation will interact with predicate type, such that the speech act predicates and the doxastic non-factives receive significantly higher ratings in the positive than in the negated condition. We predict that the response predicates and the emotive factives should receive low ratings in both polarity conditions.

5.2 Results

Figures 78 show the responses for the critical items and the two control conditions (34) (the responses for the conditional fillers (35) are not included).

Figure 7 

Response patterns by predicate type and polarity (critical and control conditions). The blue horizontal line shows the overall mean.

Figure 8 

Response patterns by predicate and polarity (critical and control conditions). The blue horizontal line shows the overall mean

The R squared values for the data with and without the outliers are given in Table 5. As expected, we find that with the subsetted data (without the outliers) the model fits the data better than with the full data set. This is true both for the models based on predicate type and verb lemma. We also observe that for none of the models is there a big difference between the conditional and the marginal R squared values, showing us that most of the variation in the data is explained by the fixed effects.

Data Marginal R2 Conditional R2

Predicate Type: With outliers (n = 56) 0.67 0.71
Predicate Type: Without outliers (n = 51) 0.71 0.75
Verb Lemma: With outliers (n = 56) 0.61 0.65
Verb Lemma: Without outliers (n = 51) 0.72 0.75

Table 5

R squared values for the data set with and without outliers. Marginal R squared values consider only the fixed effects; the conditional R squared values consider both the fixed and the random effects.

The linear mixed effects model (based on predicate type, without outliers, n = 51) shows a main effect of predicate type. Relative to the intercept (6.0920; this is the mean of the dependent variable for the two base levels: predicate type = Speech Act and polarity = positive), the model shows that the following conditions are significantly different (p < 0.001) (the numbers represent the model estimated difference relative to the base levels): Doxastic Non-factive (β = –1.7744); Response (β = –4.1227), Emotive Factive (β = –3.5806), old information controls (β = –5.0297), and polarity (β = –4.0726, p < 0.001). The new information controls did not differ significantly from the base levels (β = 0.1532, p = 0.361).

The model shows the following significant interactions (p < 0.001): the difference between the positive and the negative polarity is greater for the Speech Act predicates than for the other predicate types; Doxastic Non-factives (β = 2.0267), Response (β = 3.9924), and Emotive Factives (β = 4.3679). Given the fixed effect of polarity we just observed (β = –4.0726, p < 0.001), this means that the difference between the two polarity conditions for the Doxastic Non-factives is about half the size of that for the Speech Act predicates, whereas for the Response predicates and Emotive factives, there is essentially no difference between the two polarities: in these conditions, the effect of negation is close to zero. In fact, the Emotive Factives appear to show a small difference in the opposite direction from the other conditions.

These results then are precisely what we predicted (Section 5.1.4). Additionally, the difference between the Speech Act and Non-factive Doxastic predicates is in line with the observation that the Speech Act predicates show the overall highest levels of EV2. By testing acceptability judgements via English translations rather than the original Swedish we have ensured that any lexically-specific behavior of individual English predictes is precisely limited to English. Since the only connection between the English test items and their Swedish counterparts is through their formal semantic properties, we can rest assured that the strong connection we see between discourse-novelty (tested in English) and rates of EV2 (evaluated in Swedish) is robust. We know from this that the connection is due to structural causality rather than something psycholinguistic in nature like learned co-variation.

6 Testing our prediction: EV2 negation effect

Having confirmed that matrix negation independently impacts the interpretation of the embedded proposition as discourse-old vs. -new information, for the Speech Act predicates and the Doxastic Non-factives, we were able to test our prediction that the rates of EV2 in the corpus should be notably lower for the negated Speech Act and Doxastic Non-factive predicates, than for their non-negated counterparts. As shown in Figure 9, this prediction was borne out. This effect was confirmed by a Wilcoxon Rank Sum test (W = 749, p < 0.008), and holds across all corpora we looked at.

Figure 9 

Rates of EV2 with the speech act predicates and the doxastic non-factives under negative and positive polarity.

Importantly, this was not due to a main effect of negation, but reflects specifically the interaction of negation and the speech act and non-factive doxastic predicates, as predicted from the experimental results in Section 5. We also predicted that negation should not significantly impact the rates of EV2 for the Response stance predicates and the Emotive factives, as is borne out in Figure 10. This (lack of) effect was confirmed by a Wilcoxon Rank Sum test (W = 133, p = 0.7322).

Figure 10 

Rates of EV2 with the response stance predicates and emotive factives under negative and positive polarity.

It is also worth pointing out the one place in the current data where our proposal makes clearly different predictions from the type of account discussed in Section 1.4, that takes EV2 to be licensed by the presence of a belief that p (e.g. Truckenbrodt 2006). On this view, we should expect to see an asymmetry between the positive and the negative response stance verbs (e.g. accept/admit vs. doubt/deny), as well as an interaction with negation. In particular, this hypothesis predicts: (i) that EV2 should be possible under the positive, but not the negative response predicates; and (ii) that the negated positive response predicates should show lower rates of EV2 than the non-negated ones, and vice versa for the negative response predicates. As shown in Figure 8 however, discourse novelty does not vary drastically along the positive/negative dimension. We therefore do not predict that these should vary with respect to the availability of EV2. Looking at the rates of EV2 under the response predicates in the BRF corpus, we observe no clear difference between the positive and the negative response predicates. A Wilcoxon Rank Sum test shows no significant difference in EV2 under negated vs. positive response stance verbs (W = 13, p = 0.4396). This supports the view proposed in the current paper, whereby EV2 is licensed in contexts where p is treated as discourse new information.

7 Conclusions

The findings presented in this paper support our hypothesis, outlined in Section 4, that EV2 is licensed in contexts where the embedded proposition constitutes discourse-new information. Importantly, this is a pragmatic property of an utterance in context—constrained, but not determined, by the lexical semantics of the matrix predicate. Other factors that play a role include the pragmatic context of the utterance, as well as other grammatical properties of the sentence. Here we investigated the effect of one such factor, namely matrix negation, and showed that certain predicates interact with negation in a way that constrains the potential discourse-status of a sentence. These results then made novel predictions regarding the distribution of embedded verb second in the corpus, which we showed were borne out. Note that while we only looked at the interaction with negation, the naturally occurring sentences in (29), from the BRF corpus, suggest that negation is only one potentially relevant grammatical factor.

In addition to the effect of discourse novelty, we also observed that the rates of EV2 are graded by formality, such that rates of EV2 are much lower in written, formal contexts. This replicates results from Heycock & Wallenberg (2013), and is in line with the observation that (at least in Swedish) there exists a prescriptive bias against EV2.25 It remains a question for future work to tease out in more detail to what extent these types of factors are responsible for the overall low rates of EV2 in our corpus data. A further issue that remains for future work to address is whether the observation that EV2 in Swedish is licensed by discourse novelty can be extended to EV2 in other syntactic frames (for instance in cases where the pre-verbal element is a focused or topicalized non-subject XP, or in different kinds of adverbial clauses). We also noted that our account of Swedish EV2 appears to be similar to that proposed by Gärtner & Michaelis (2010) in their analysis of German main clause V2. This then provides some support for a homogeneous account, not only for embedded and matrix clause V2 (contrary to e.g. Truckenbrodt 2006), but also for V2 across languages (see also Djärv 2019a; b for experimental results supporting this position). A final issue for future investigation concerns the question of to what extend the current account generalizes to other MCP. For recent theoretical and experimental work on variation among different types of MCP, see Jacobs (2018) and Djärv (2019a; b).

It’s worth noting that while previous work has pointed to both discourse familiarity and negation as factors relevant to the licensing of EV2 and MCP, their effects have been interpreted disjunctively, as evidence for different theoretical accounts. On an account where EV2 is licensed by the presence of a belief-context, the effect of negation on EV2 is taken to follow from the negation of the attitude holder’s belief that p. However, we saw above that this view over-generates. On the kind of lexical licensing approach advocated by Haegeman and colleagues, MCP are claimed to be blocked by “presuppositionality” or “referentiality” (in their terminology). However, they take this to involve all factive verbs, and make no reference to negation. Here, we link the interaction of verb-type and negation explicitly to the discourse status of p, thus getting a unified account of the effect of negation and the role of predicate type. However, neither (speaker or attitude holder) belief, nor factivity plays any explanatory role on our proposal.

Apart from contributing to the empirical picture and the theoretical debate regarding EV2 and Main Clause Phenomena more broadly, the present study also represents a methodological contribution. Syntactic “optionality” is not an inherently unified phenomenon. While (particularly lexical-level) usage rates could potentially result from probabilistic representations, this need not be the case as specific output statistics can emerge from an interaction with context. We need to be careful in our interpretation of usage data and evaluate multiple theories (including both grammatical and psycholinguistic ones) when applicable. Yet, despite these caveats, we are still able to learn a good deal about grammatical representation directly from observational usage statistics.

Additional Files

The additional files for this article can be found as follows:

EV2 Corpus Rates.

Corpus usage data by individual predicate; including EV2, frequency, polarity-dependent behavior, etc. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.867.s1

Guess What Data.

Raw output data from the “Guess What” discourse status experiment. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.867.s2

Notes

1V2 is also possible in other types of embedded environments, including certain types of adverbial clauses. Here, we leave these to the side, but see for instance Wechsler (1991) and Heycock & Wallenberg (2013).

2Note that this description is likely somewhat simplified. Following Rizzi (1997), much work on V2 and related phenomena has argued that the C-domain consists of an ordered sequence of syntactic heads; Force, Fin, Topic, Focus, etc, responsible for different types of movement-phenomena (see Section 1.4). Since our focus here is the licensing conditions on EV2, and not its precise syntactic implementation, we use C here, as a descriptively simpler and more theory-neutral label.

3See for instance Platzack (1987); Platzack & Holmberg (1989); Holmberg & Platzack (1991; 1995); Holmberg (2015), for differences between the different Scandinavian languages in this respect. see also Holmberg (2015) for a recent survey of V2-phenomena.

4This is unlike in V2-languages that are SOV, like German and Dutch.

5Although see (7) from Bianchi & Frascarelli (2009) above for conflicting empirical claims about the status of topicalization in clauses embedded under emotive factives.

6Also cited in De Cuba & Ürögdi (2010: 43), Haegeman & Ürögdi (2010: 112), Haegeman (2012: 257), Kastner (2015: 3), De Cuba (2017: 4).

7Also cited in Haegeman & Ürögdi (2010: 113), Haegeman (2012: 257), De Cuba (2017: 4).

8Though Truckenbrodt (2006: 299) nevertheless reports “exceptions” to this generalization.

9There are other interesting and important components to the analyses presented here; for instance, these authors link the “presuppositional” nature of factive clauses to the selection of a “referential” CP (following Kiparsky & Kiparsky 1970, some authors argue that this is encoded as an overt DP; see also Adams 1985; Pesetsky 1991; Rooryck 1992; Bhatt 2010; Abrusán 2011; Elliott 2016; Bogal-Allbritten & Moulton 2018; Djärv 2019a; b, for discussion). What is important on these accounts, is actually the status of the embedded clause as referential or presuppositional. However, what matters for current purposes, is that these authors assume that all factive predicates are presuppositional in the relevant sense, and therefore predicted to disallow EV2 and other MCP.

10According to him, matrix clause V2 additionally requires that the speaker wishes to add p to the Common Ground.

11Although note that it’s less clear how their account would deal with V2 in German neither, nor… sentences, such as:

    1. (1)
    1. German
    1. Weder
    2. neither
    1. schneit
    2. snows
    1. es
    2. it
    1. in
    2. in
    1. Berlin,
    2. Berlin,
    1. noch
    2. nor
    1. scheint
    2. shines
    1. die
    2. the
    1. Sonne
    2. sun
    1. in
    2. in
    1. Potsdam.
    2. Potsdam
    1. ‘It’s neither snowing in Berlin, nor is the sun shining in Potsdam.’

It appears to us that such sentences, which would presumably be interpreted as ¬(ϕ1 ∨ ϕ2), are at odds with their progressive update criterion for EV2. We leave this issue to the side. Thanks to Florian Schwarz, p.c. for this observation.

12This estimate comes from the present study; the proportion of sentences with an overt adverb such as negation in the embedded clause.

13Code is available open-source at https://github.com/scaplan/ev2-optionality under the MIT license for replicability and extension to related data sets and analyses.

14For example, spring, springa, springer, sprang, are all identified by the unifying lemma spring (‘run’) and identified as such in the subsequent analysis.

15A highly frequent but limited set of 108 lemmas was tagged for semantic class based on their classification in previous literature on the topic (Hooper & Thompson 1973; Wiklund et al. 2009; Kastner 2015; Djärv et al. 2017).

16As in Table 1 the rates of EV2 in historical newspaper data (1860–1880) range from 5% to 7% in line with the contemporary rate in online forums.

17The alternation illustrated in (1a) vs. (1b).

(1) a. The coach said the players were tired.
  b. The coach said that the players were tired.

18What’s more, the availability of lemmas for fast processing can be experimentally manipulated to causally induce the use of passive structures over otherwise equivalent active ones (Gleitman et al. 2007).

19Importantly, the # refers to the readings where p is presented to the hearer as discourse new information (as opposed to where the sentence makes a comment about the attitude holder). The same goes for (30) and (31).

20It is worth noting that the idea that discourse novelty is relevant to the licensing or availability of EV2 is implicit also in a number of “assertion-based” accounts (e.g. Julien 2009; Gärtner & Michaelis 2010; Woods 2016a; b). However, on these accounts, discourse novelty is typically regarded as a secondary condition, in addition to something like main point status, or belief(p). The main difference, then, between previous work and the current proposal, is that we don’t appeal to any additional pragmatic factors beyond discourse novelty.

21Note that the notion of discourse novelty that is relevant here is different from that involved in cases of (global) accommodation (see for instance Karttunen 1974; Stalnaker 1974; Heim 1983; Thomason 1990; Van der Sandt 1992; Stalnaker 2002; Klinedinst 2010; Abrusán 2016). In the latter case, the speaker treats the relevant proposition, p, as discourse old (or presupposed) information, such that that the hearer will need to saliently adjust their Common Ground to include p, in order for the presupposition to be met by the context. In the case we have in mind, however, p is explicitly presented as discourse new information, and intended by the speaker to be interpreted as such (rather than, say, as a reminder; cf. discussion in Julien 2009). To this point, an anonymous reviewer points to the consequence of degree sentence in (1) below as a potential counterexample to our claim that Swedish EV2 is licensed by discourse novelty: the idea being that the proposition ‘the fines do not tempt the proprietor to continue’ could represent discourse new information, and yet, EV2 is not permitted here, as shown in (1b).

    1. (1)
    1. Norwegian (Julien 2015: 161)
    1.  
    1. a.
    1.    Bøtene
    2.    fines.DEF
    1. skal
    2. shall
    1. være
    2. be
    1. so
    1. store
    2. large
    1. at
    2. that
    1. de
    2. they
    1. ikke
    2. not
    1. frister
    2. tempt
    1. innehaveren
    2. proprietor.DEF
    1. til
    2. to
    1. å
    2. to
    1. fortsette.
    2. continue
    1.    ‘The fines should be so large that they do not tempt the proprietor to continue.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Bøtene
    2.    fines.DEF
    1. skal
    2. shall
    1. være
    2. be
    1. so
    1. store
    2. large
    1. at
    2. that
    1. de
    2. they
    1. frister
    2. tempt
    1. ikke
    2. not
    1. innehaveren
    2. proprietor.DEF
    1. til
    2. to
    1. å
    2. to
    1. fortsette.
    2. continue

However, this point speaks directly to the difference between on the one hand, global accommodation, and on the other, presenting a proposition p as new information in a move to update the context with p. We interpret (1) as involving the former. The question of how the discourse pragmatics interacts with different kinds of embedding environments more broadly, including different kinds of adverbial constructions and modal environments, is unfortunately beyond the scope of the current discussion.

22See also Djärv (2019a; b) for discussion and experimental evidence.

23The doxastic factives were excluded for the purpose of keeping the experiment size manageable; we had no specific prediction about how they should interact with negation. Note though, that recent work by Djärv (2019a; b) has replicated the results of the current study, including also the doxastic factives, in both German and Swedish: she found that the doxastic factives pattern with the speech act predicates for discourse novelty ratings (including the interaction with negation), and further, that these two verb classes (± negation) pattern alike also in terms of the acceptability of EV2.

24As an anonymous reviewer points out, it has been noted, for instance by Wiklund et al. (2009), that the counterpart of the English verb meaning roughtly ‘regret’ differ in certain ways the across the Scandinavian languages; particularly that Icelandic harma differs in certain ways from Swedish ångra and Norwegian angre. The important point here is that the Swedish and the English counterparts nevertheless share the relevant pragmatic property of requiring the embedded proposition p to be Given; an empirical assumption that is supported by resent experimental results by Djärv (2019a; b).

25As an anonymous reviewer points out, the prescription against EV2 is quite explicit in the Swedish educational system at all levels, and is commonly referred to as the “BIFF”-rule. See for instance https://sfipatxi.wordpress.com/2018/01/05/ordfoljd-i-bisats/#more-892.

Abbreviations

BFR = Språkbanken Corpus of Swedish (Borin, Forsberg and Roxendal), CG = Common Ground, DEF = definite suffix, EC = embedded clause, EV2 = Embedded Verb Second, MC = main clause, MCP = Main Clause Phenomena, P = proposition.

Acknowledgements

A lot of helpful discussion contributed greatly to this work. In particular, we would like to thank Luke Adamson, Ryan Budnick, Anthony Kroch, Florian Schwarz, Besty Sneller, Hongzhi Xu, and Charles Yang. We also thank the audiences at Formal Ways of Analyzing Variation (FWAV 4) at York, Texas Linguistic Society 17 at UT Austin, the Mid-Atlantic Colloquium of Studies in Meaning (MACSIM 7) at Georgetown, Meaning in Flux at Yale, and SelectionFest at ZAS Berlin, along with the members of the SchwarzLab at UPenn.

Funding Information

This research received financial support from NSF-grant BCS-1349009 to Florian Schwarz.

Competing Interests

The authors have no competing interests to declare.

Author Contributions

Spencer Caplan and Kajsa Djärv authors contributed equally to this manuscript.

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