An Experimental Approach to Basic Word Order in Turkish Intransitives

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Abstract

This study offers an experimental perspective to investigate the word order and animacy effects of intransitives in Turkish, an agglutinative language with a canonical, flexible Subject-Object-Verb order. Four experiments were conducted to investigate a total of 528 Turkish speakers’ acceptability judgments using rating scales (Experiments 1 and 3; 7-point Likert scales) and forced choice tasks (Experiments 2 and 4; choosing one of two sentences) for various orders of linguistic forms in a simple intransitive sentence. Results from scalar acceptability judgments showed that there were significant main effects of order and subject, indicating that participants gave significantly higher ratings to SV sentences than VS sentences and that their ratings changed significantly according to the animacy of the subjects. Results from the forced choice tasks showed that participants preferred SV sentences to VS sentences. These findings suggest that Turkish speakers prefer SV order over VS order even though both are readily available.

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