International audienceIt has been extensively observed that languages minimise the distance between two related words. Dependency length minimisation effects are explained as a means to reduce memory load and for effective communication. In this paper, we ask whether they hold in typically short spans, such as noun phrases, which could be thought of being less subject to efficiency pressure. We demonstrate that minimisation does occur in short spans, but also that it is a complex effect: it is not only the length of the dependency that is at stake, but also the effect of the surrounding dependencies
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