Pairing Form and Meaning in English and Norwegian: Conjoined VPs or Conjoined Clauses?

  • Bergljot BehrensEmail author
  • Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen
  • Lyn Frazier
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 44)


Conjoined VPs and conjoined clauses with co-referential subjects often seem interchangeable. Two comprehension studies, each conducted in both English and Norwegian, investigated which conjoined structure is preferred under given conditions. With adversative, or concessive, relations, conjoined clauses were preferred in both languages; with simple cause-result relations, conjoined VPs were preferred in both languages. These effects were more pronounced in Norwegian, where an overt or empty frame-setting adverbial must be taken to scope over both conjuncts of a conjoined VP but not over both conjuncts of a conjoined clause (whereas in English an overt or a covert frame-setting adverbial ambiguously scopes over either both clauses or just the first clause). A separate experiment investigated the preferred temporal interpretation for conjoined structures in English and Norwegian.


VP/S-coordination Discourse relations Norwegian English 



The authors’ names are in alphabetical order. Our work was supported by a project grant to Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen by the Center for Advanced Study in Oslo (Meaning and Understanding Across Languages 2010/2011) and by grant HD18708 to the University of Massachusetts. We are extremely grateful to Charles Clifton, Jr., for advice and statistical help, to Hans Kamp for reading an early draft of the chapter and giving us comments that have helped to sharpen and clarify our proposal, and to Barbara Hemforth, Torgrim Solstad, and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on the first version of our paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bergljot Behrens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen
    • 1
  • Lyn Frazier
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Literature, Area Studies and European LanguagesUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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