Abstract

This squib tests theories of heavy NP shift that link constituent order to parsing. Our results indicate that increasing the weight of an object NP cannot make a heavy NP shift construction more acceptable than a comparison sentence in the canonical order, contra parsing-based theories. In addition, we examine acceptability as it relates to verb disposition. We find no significant differences between different subcategorizations, contrary to the findings of corpus studies. These results reveal a disconnect between production and comprehension; we further conclude that parser sensitivity to constituent structure is unlikely to affect speaker production of heavy NP shift.

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