Counting markedness : a corpus investigation on German free relative constructions
- This paper reports the results of a corpus investigation on case conflicts in German argument free relative constructions. We investigate how corpus frequencies reflect the relative markedness of free relative and correlative constructions, the relative markedness of different case conflict configurations, and the relative markedness of different conflict resolution strategies. Section 1 introduces the conception of markedness as used in Optimality Theory. Section 2 introduces the facts about German free relative clauses, and section 3 presents the results of the corpus study. By and large, markedness and frequency go hand in hand. However, configurations at the highest end of the markedness scale rarely show up in corpus data, and for the configuration at the lowest end we found an unexpected outcome: the more marked structure is preferred.