Freek Van de Velde

Freek Van de Velde
KU Leuven | ku leuven · Department of Linguistics

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125
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Publications

Publications (125)
Chapter
Recent years have seen a growing interest in grammatical variation, a core explanandum of grammatical theory. The present volume explores questions that are fundamental to this line of research: First, the question of whether variation can always and completely be explained by intra- or extra-linguistic predictors, or whether there is a certain amo...
Article
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Differences in language use between men and women have been studied intensely. We take stock of the findings and venture into less charted territory. First, we broaden the scope from well-known lexical features to the domain of syntax. Second, we take a diachronic perspective, looking at changes between 1880 and 1999. Based on a corpus of written D...
Article
It has often been suggested that there is an inverse correlation between the number of adult non-native speakers in a language and its morphological complexity. Secluded languages often show more complex morphology, while high-contact languages go through more severe simplifications throughout the ages. One such simplification linked to language co...
Article
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Over the past decades, research on the linguistic impact of globalization has foregrounded the socio-pragmatic meaning potential and mental categorization of anglicisms, looking for signs of agentivity and contextual sensitivity in the way receptor language users incorporate borrowed English resources into their speech, both in form and in function...
Article
Part of the generalizability issues that haunt controlled lab experiment designs in psychology, and more particularly in psycholinguistics, can be alleviated by adopting corpus linguistic methods. These work with natural data. This advantage comes at a cost: in corpus studies, lexemes and language users can show different kinds of skew. We discuss...
Article
In this article, we present a new corpus spanning 163 years of written Dutch. This Dutch Corpus of Contemporary and late Modern Periodicals ( Dutch C-CLAMP ) comprises 47,738 part-of-speech tagged articles published in Dutch periodicals from 1837 until 1999, totaling approximately 200 million tokens in size. We explain the measures we took to overc...
Article
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Within usage-based theory, notably in construction grammar though also elsewhere, the role of the lexicon and of lexically-specific patterns in morphosyntax is well recognized. The methodology, however, is not always sufficiently suited to get at the details, as lexical effects are difficult to study under what are currently the standard methods fo...
Article
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Construction grammar organizes its basic elements of description, its constructions, into networks that range from concrete, lexically-filled constructions to fully schematic ones, with several levels of partially schematic constructions in between. However, only few corpus studies with a constructionist background take this multi-level nature full...
Article
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Historical linguistics has witnessed an upsurge in quantitative corpus studies. The bulk of these studies involve the use of regression modelling. We point out a number of potential problems with this approach, and offer an alternative. For a multi-state language change, we propose a Markov model in continuous time. The major advantage of this tech...
Article
Full-text available
Historical linguistics has witnessed an upsurge in quantitative corpus studies. The bulk of these studies involve the use of regression modelling. We point out a number of potential problems with this approach, and offer an alternative. For a multi-state language change, we propose a Markov model in continuous time. The major advantage of this tech...
Article
An evolutionary approach to historical linguistics can be enlightening when not only the mechanisms, but also the statistical methods are considered from neighboring disciplines. In this short paper, we apply survival analysis to investigate what factors determine the lifespan of words. Our case study is on post-classical Greek from the 4th century...
Article
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Grammaticalization has proven to be an insightful approach to semantic-morphosyntactic change within and across languages. Many studies, however, rely on assessing the large, obvious differences before and after the change. When investigating burgeoning or ongoing grammaticalization processes, it is notably harder to objectively measure the degree...
Article
Germanic preterite morphology has been the subject of a bewildering number of studies, looking especially at the competition between the so-called strong inflection (operating with ablaut), and the so-called weak inflection (operating with suffixation). In this study over 250,000 observations from twelve centuries of Dutch were analyzed in a genera...
Article
The spine of language change In his contribution to the 2005 anniversary issue of the journal Nederlandse Taalkunde , Fred Weerman remarked on the famous S-curve underlying language change, and claimed that a good explanation for this pattern is still lacking. We pick up the thread and assess what 15 years of research have clarified about the natur...
Article
Dutch, like other Germanic languages, disposes of two strategies to express past tense: the strong inflection (e. g., rijden – reed ‘drive – drove’) and the weak inflection ( spelen – speelde ‘play – played’). This distinction is for the most part lexically determined in that each verb occurs in one of the two inflections. Diachronically the system...
Article
Studies of language change frequently wrestle with the problem of cause and correlation. It is comparatively simple to observe a correlation between historical trends. However, it is much more difficult to demonstrate that the changes in the frequency of a construction A were indeed the cause of the changes in the frequency of a construction B. We...
Article
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This article investigates the textual motivation of clitic doubling in Spanish with a case study of indirect object doubling in 18th, 19th and 20th century Argentinian Spanish. It is generally assumed that doubling originated with preposed and stressed NPs, and increased in frequency till it was obligatory in those contexts. This development and th...
Article
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In this opinion article we look at what the field of linguistics has achieved over the past decades. We see four major breakthroughs, but it is striking that those breakthroughs either do not bring real new ideas, but rather refer back to old views, or concern purely methodological innovations. And if there is real innovation, it turns out to be br...
Article
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Rejoinder to the replies to our target article 'De taalwetenschap: een plaatsbepaling'
Article
This article takes a quantitative approach to the long-term dynamics of the preterite inflection in West Germanic, with a special focus on Dutch. In a first step, we replicate two often-cited studies on English and German ( Lieberman et al. 2007 and Carroll et al. 2012 , respectively) by looking at Dutch. This part also tackles some methodological...
Article
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In every-day language use, two or more structurally unrelated constructions may occasionally give rise to strings that look very similar on the surface. As a result of this superficial resemblance, a subset of instances of one of these constructions may deviate in the probabilistic preference for either of several possible formal variants. This eff...
Article
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Grammaticalization research has led to important insights into the driving processes of innovation and propagation. Yet what has generally been lacking is a principled way of analyzing their interaction. Research into innovation focuses on the role of individual language users and tends to take a more qualitative approach, while propagation is typi...
Presentation
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In this study, we contrast the Moroccan-Dutch ethnolect with the language use of full native speakers within the framework of Contrastive Interlanguage Analysis (Granger 1996). Our focus will be on their realization of Dutch adjectival morphology. Language users of the Moroccan-Dutch ethnolect may be creatively restructuring Dutch morphology in a n...
Article
This article presents a diachronic study of the so-called ‘Big Mess Construction’ whereby an adverb of degree and an adjective precede an article, as in English so good a bargain. Due to the challenges this construction poses to noun phrase syntax, it has been the subject of a number of scholarly studies, often yielding ingenious explanations for i...
Article
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The likelihood with which language users insert optional words or morphemes that explicitly mark syntactic structure tends to increase in complex grammatical environments. This positive correlation between explicitness and complexity, best known as the Complexity Principle, has been observed for a multitude of case studies in both naturally occurri...
Conference Paper
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Quantitative studies of language change frequently wrestle with the problem of cause and correlation. It is comparably simply to observe a correlation between historical trends such as changes in the frequency of a construction A and a construction B. However, it is much more difficult to demonstrate that the changes in the frequency of A have inde...
Presentation
Full-text available
In recent years, theoretical work in construction grammar has often focused on links between constructions and the design of the constructional network or constructicon (Wellens 2011; Van de Velde 2014; Diessel 2015). Regarding these networks, one of the issues on which we have managed to reach consensus, is the need for a vertical dimension, rangi...
Presentation
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Lectal contamination is the language-external counterpart of what has been described as constructional contamination (Pijpops & Van de Velde 2016). In constructional contamination, various superficially similar constructions within one and the same language variety exert an influence on each other, causing lexically-specific preferences for either...
Article
The construction Beste boek ooit (‘Best book ever!’) comes in different forms in Dutch. Variation is not only attested in the absence or presence of determiners and postmodifiers, but also in code choice: English, Dutch and hybrid (Beste boek ever!) variants occur. This article investigates differentiation between instances with ooit and instances...
Poster
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1. Introduction Lieberman et al. (2007) aimed to quantify the evolutionary dynamics of language by investigating the rise of the English regular past tense inflection, which they equated with the weak -ed suffix. Yet, their bold conclusion that “the half-life of an irregular verb scales as the square root of its usage frequency: a verb that is 100...
Chapter
Exaptation is a process of linguistic change where obsolescent morphology is refunctionalized. In this article it is argued that exaptation is not a rare, one-off process, as is often assumed, but may come in successive waves, both in biological evolution, where the term originated, and in cultural evolution, including linguistics. Such iterated ex...
Article
Clitic doubling is the phenomenon in which, in a clause, a NP or a stressed pronoun and a clitic pronoun refer to the same entity and have the same syntactic function. Previous studies on this phenomenon in Spanish observe that it takes place when the elements involved have features such as +preposition and +definiteness that make them prone to top...
Presentation
Full-text available
In every-day language use, two or more structurally unrelated constructions may occasionally give rise to strings that look similar or even identical on the surface. As language users sometimes employ shallow parsing, the processing of these strings may short-circuit (Ferreira, Bailey and Ferraro 2002; Ferreira and Patson 2007; Dąbrowska 2014). As...
Article
While it is undoubtedly true that historical data do not lend themselves well to the reproduction of experimental findings, the availability of increasingly extensive data sets has brought some experimenting within practical reach. This means that certain predictions based on a combination of synchronic observations and uniformitarian thinking are...
Conference Paper
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Present-day Dutch has a vestigial partitive genitive morpheme. Adjectives take the genitive -s morpheme when they are used as a dependent of a quantifier (Haeseryn et al. 1997: 863; Broekhuis 2013: 420-426). This is illustrated in (1). The construction comes in two variants: either with an overt -s suffix, or without the suffix. (1) iets bijzonder(...
Presentation
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From the earliest attested stages on, Germanic languages have at their disposal two competing strategies for building preterites. One strategy, exemplified by sing-song, is called the strong inflection. It relies on root apophony (ablaut), and is a reanalysis and extension of an earlier Indo-European aspectual system (Prokosch 1939; Lass 1990). The...
Presentation
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Processing shapes grammatical organisation, including asymmetric coding with a marked vs. unmarked alternance (Hawkins 2004), but it is unclear whether the processing considerations at issue are those of speakers or of addressees. Hawkins’s model is framed as benefiting the addressee, though he remarks that it equally benefits the speaker (2004: 24...
Article
Structuralism and formal grammar have, in the course of the 20 th century, rightfully taken issue with more vague and unfalsifiable just-so stories of some of their predecessors. For all its merits, though, the structuralist-formal strand of linguistics has its drawbacks as well. The classical Saussurean distinction between synchrony and diachrony...
Article
In this article, we introduce the effect of “constructional contamination”. In constructional contamination, a subset of the instances of a target construction deviate in their realization, due to a superficial resemblance they share with instances of a contaminating construction. We claim that this contaminating effect bears testimony to the hypot...
Presentation
Full-text available
The Germanic languages boast two morphological strategies for past tense formation. The strong inflection is based on an ablaut in the verb’s stem (e.g. sing ~ sang, drive ~ drove) and is the oldest, largely descendant from the Indo-European mother tongue (Harbert 2007). The weak inflection, by contrast, adds a dental suffix to the stem (e.g. laugh...
Book
This volume is the first collection of papers that is exclusively dedicated to the concept of exaptation, a notion from evolutionary biology that was famously introduced into linguistics by Roger Lass in 1990. The past quarter-century has seen a heated debate on the properties of linguistic exaptation, its demarcation from other processes of lingui...
Chapter
This paper inquires into the external possessor in West Germanic and Romance. Against other accounts in the literature, it argues that the distribution of the dative external possessor can be explained neither by reference to Standard Average European nor by direct substrate influence. Instead, it argues that its diachronic decline is better explai...
Article
Variation and change in constructions: At the intersection of construction grammar and variational linguistics This introductory paper outlines the different trends and movements that have in recent years led to a marked increase in the number of linguistic studies that combine a construction-based theoretical outlook on grammar with a dedicated in...
Article
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This study applies the methodology described by Gries & Deshors (2014) within the framework of the Contrastive Interlanguage Analysis (Granger, 1996) to the partitive genitive inflection in post-quantifier adjectives in the Moroccan Dutch ethnolect. This implies fitting a logistic regression model on data from the complementary ConDiv and Moroccorp...
Article
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The verbal weak inflection, one of the defining innovations of Proto-Germanic, currently holds a dominant position in the verbal inventory of most remaining Germanic languages. This has not always been the case, though. This paper investigates how the weak inflection could have grown to overthrow its competitor, the strong inflection, even if (i) t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A conspicuous characteristic of Germanic languages is that they have two morphological strategies at their disposal to express the preterite. The oldest strategy is called the ‘strong’ inflection, and derives from the Proto-Indo-European aspectual ablaut system (English sing ~ sang). The ‘weak’ inflection, by contrast, is a diachronically innovativ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In an inconspicuous corner of Dutch grammar, one may find adjectives receiving -s inflection (1). However, this -s, a remnant of the partitive genitive, may also disappear (2). (1) wat zinnig-s ‘something sensible’ (2) iets wit ‘something white’ Earlier research has revealed the precise intra- and extra-linguistic contexts in which this -s omiss...
Article
Apparent syntactic phoenixes This article investigates ‘syntactic phoenixes’: obsolete or obsolescent constructions that unexpectedly regain currency in language use. Four case studies are investigated to gain insight in the reasons for the revival of these old constructions: (i) transparent free relatives, (ii) the complex preposition-like combina...
Article
This introductory paper outlines the different trends and movements that have in recent years led to a marked increase in the number of linguistic studies that combine a construction-based theoretical outlook on grammar with a dedicated interest in issues of synchronic and/or diachronic language variation. In addition, it gives an overview of the p...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Deflection has been rampaging in the history of Dutch, but in this long-term process, the genitive proves to be remarkably resilient. One of the tenacious relics is the partitive genitive of the type ‘iets moois’ (‘something beautiful’). The construction has drawn a lot of scholarly attention (Schultink 1962: 79-80; Kester 1996: 199-224; Broekhuis...
Article
Dutch nominalisations of the type het eten van vlees (‘the eating of meat’) have ergative alignment. The alignment is functionally motivated, in that it is a natural consequence of the flow of discourse. The functional account that is put forward here draws on the notion of Preferred Argument Structure (Du Bois 1987) and on the distinction between...
Conference Paper
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Perhaps the most puzzling of the Dutch vestigial genitives is the partitive genitive with indefinite pronouns and numerals, as in (1) and (3). What is most noteworthy is its stubborn resilience in the face of deflexion, even though other partitive genitives have long given way to alternative s-less constructions, such as close appositions, and even...
Conference Paper
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Constructions are often defined as form-function pairings. The underlying assumption is that the form of a construction is fixed, and uncontaminated -- otherwise the predictable pairing with its form would be hampered. This is demonstrably not always the case, however, neither diachronically nor synchronically. Diachronically, a construction often...
Article
Keywords: noun phrase, NP, predeterminers, peripheral modifiers, usage-based linguistics
Article
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This article presents an analysis of autonomous and semi-autonomous subordination patterns in Dutch, some of which have so far gone unnoticed. It proposes a four-way classification of such constructions with the general subordinator dat (‘that’), drawing on Internet Relay Chat corpus data of Flemish varieties. Generalizing over the four types and t...
Article
This article takes a usage-based perspective on the partitive genitive construction in Dutch (iets moois, `something beautiful'), which has previously drawn scholarly attention from a theoretical perspective, due to the challenges it presents to Dutch nominal morphosyntax. We will argue that a good understanding of the construction at issue cannot...
Article
Pragmatics 24:2 (June 2014) <http://ipra.ua.ac.be/main.aspx?c=*HOME&n=1480> SPECIAL ISSUE: The interaction between context and grammar in Functional Discourse Grammar . Edited by Núria Alturo, Evelien Keizer, and Lluís Payrató Núria ALTURO, Evelien KEIZER, and Lluís PAYRATÓ The interaction between context and grammar in Functional Discourse Gram...
Article
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Moroccorp: Ten Million Words from two Moroccan Dutch Chat Chan­nels. In this article we introduce a new corpus of computer-mediated communication in Dutch by Maroccan-Dutch language users, consisting of ten million words of chat material. We treat the background, the compilation method and the inner structure of the corpus, and we relate our effort...
Article
1. Introduction 2. On multiple source constructions in language change (by Van de Velde, Freek) 3. Articles 4. Multiple inheritance and constructional change (by Trousdale, Graeme) 5. An inquiry into unidirectionality as a foundational element of grammaticalization: On the role played by analogy and the synchronic grammar system in processes of lan...
Article
This paper examines two cases of so-called syntactic amalgams . In syntactic amalgams a particular string that is shared by two constructions is exploited to combine them, in such a way that one of the constructions functions as a modifier of the other. Typical examples are after God knows how many years (< after many years + God knows how many yea...
Article
The application of evolutionary thinking to language change has a long tradition, and especially in functional approaches it is currently widely accepted that certain mechanisms can be fruitfully used to describe both biological and linguistic processes. In this article, the evolutionary concept of homoplasy, the recurrence of similar traits in unr...
Article
In this article we introduce a new corpus of computer-mediated communication in Dutch by Maroccan-Dutch language users, consisting of ten million words of chat material. We treat the background, the compilation method and the inner structure of the corpus, and we relate our efforts to previous attempts to build a corpus of Dutch chat language. We a...

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