Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
First, the word order variation usually referred to as scrambling in German is typical for OV languages. In fact, it is not a holistic property of a language but a property of head-final phrases. German with its mixed headedness is a good test case. Head-initial phrases (e.g. NPs) are ordered strictly, while head-final phrases (AP, VP) are the territory of scrambling. Scrambling is a property of all Germanic OV languages, but its domain of application differs according to the grammar-specific features of the individual languages. Dutch, for instance, does not allow change to the relative order of DP arguments, but a PP object may be scrambled across another object.
Second, all Germanic languages front pronouns. The target for pronoun fronting is the leftmost position of their respective domain. Pronoun fronting is not a subinstance of scrambling, although the order variation it produces may be analogous to scrambling. Pronoun fronting, for example, must not change the relative order of the pronouns. In principle, scrambling produces all possible permutations of arguments. In the Scandinavian languages, object shift is a device of the grammar that apparently allows the movement of an object pronoun out of the VP, but object shift in general must not change the relative order of the objects (Thráinsson 2001). This is a clear difference between object shift and scrambling.