Speyer, Augustin; Voigtmann, Sophia

Factors for the integration of causal clauses in the history of German

Jedrzejowski, Lukasz; Fleczoreck, Constanze (Ed.): Micro- and Macro-variation of Causal Clauses: Synchronic and Diachronic Insights, John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 311–345, 2021.

The variation between integrated (verb-final) and independent (verb-second) causal clauses in German could depend on the amount of information conveyed in that clause. A lower amount might lead to integration, a higher amount to independence, as processing constraints might forbid integration of highly informative clauses. We use two ways to measure information amount: 1. the average ratio of given referents within the clause, 2. the cumulative surprisal of all words in the clause. Focusing on historical stages of German, a significant correlation between amount of information and integration was visible, regardless which method was used.