Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka and Joey Lim, 2023. “Deriving scrambling with word order freezing.”
Glossa 8, pages 1–31. DOI: 10.16995/glossa.8364

A number of languages allow for flexible word order between arguments that are sufficiently distinguishable, but “frozen” relative word order for arguments that are not. We present a new, derivational approach to such effects that involves positing optional scrambling probes that target various formal features that pre-exist on potential goals. In particular, there are no special-purpose “scrambling features,” contra Müller 1997, 1998 and Grewendorf and Sabel 1999 a.o. The features that these optional probes can target may be restricted and subject to variation. Evidence for the proposal comes from the observed speaker variation in postverbal word order possibilities in Pangasinan, a predicate-initial Austronesian language of the Philippines. We show that our proposal is also compatible with facts that at first glance suggest a functionalist account of freezing effects.