Thórhallur Eythórsson

V2 and the evolution of Germanic clause structure: syntax, phonology and information structure  


2012. október 18. 11:00  



The goal of this paper is to provide a novel analysis of Verb-Second (V2) in Germanic, both from a synchronic and a diachronic perspective. The take-home message is twofold: (1) equating V2 exclusively with V-to-C is a misnomer and (2) the canonical instances of “independent” verb movement to T (or alternatively to a position in an extended CP structure) in languages like Icelandic actually involve V2. Thus, V2 is deconstructed as an adjacency constraint at the syntax-phonology interface which requires the finite verb in the highest functional head position (C or T) to occur immediately after a clause-initial phrase, disallowing any intermediate elements. In the earliest Germanic the V2 constraint emerged in certain well-defined main clause types with a particular information structure, and was subsequently extended to other clause types, including embedded clauses in North Germanic (and West Germanic Yiddish). Since the V2 constraint is “violable”, it can of course be lost eventually; typically this happens first in embedded clauses (Mainland Scandinavian, Faroese) and then in specific types of main clauses (wh-questions in Norwegian dialects).