This paper investigates the effect of both structural and sociolinguistic variables on the development of the Dutch verbal cluster order variation. More precisely, the paper evaluates which specific set of these variables has the largest effect on the verb order variation from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. To this end, a corpus linguistic study with a random forest analysis was conducted, using the Historical Corpus of Dutch (1550-1850), which contains administrative texts, pamphlets, and private letters from four different regions in the Northern (Holland and Zeeland) and Southern Netherlands (Brabant and Flanders). The results of this corpus study show that the sociolinguistic variables (viz. period, year, time, and region) are the most important predictors of the Dutch verb order variation, whereas the impact of the structural variables is overall limited (viz. the type of auxiliary verb, the morphological structure of the past participle, the distance between the conjunction and the cluster, and extraposition of the verb cluster). Thus, the sociolinguistic variables seem to be the driving forces behind this syntactic change.
Originele taal-2English
TijdschriftRevue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire
StatusAccepted/In press - 2023


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