Declarative clauses in Old High German (OHG) display V1- and V2-orders. In this paper, we show that verb placement in OHG is determined by information-structural (IS-) conditions: the verb serves to separate the aboutness topic from the rest of the clause (the comment). In this system, V1-clauses appear in sentences that lack a topic-comment division. The generalization of the V2 rule in German came about by extending the pattern representing topic comment structures onto sentences representing other discourse relations. In this process, the sentence-initial position was IS-neutralized, supporting an analysis of V2 in the modern language as verb movement to a unique head position with an EPP-feature.We compare this scenariowith the system of verb placement in Old English (OE) and argue that English did not develop a generalized V2rule, since the position of the verb inOEdid not serve to separate a special topic from the rest of the clause, but separated all background elements from the focus domain of the clause. Finally, we argue that the V2-pattern in OHG derives from a construction inwhich a topic and a V1-clause were juxtaposed. Thus, the historic scenario as a whole provides support for the analysis of V2 in German as being derived from an original V1 system.

From V1 to V2 in West Germanic

HINTERHOLZL, Roland;
2010

Abstract

Declarative clauses in Old High German (OHG) display V1- and V2-orders. In this paper, we show that verb placement in OHG is determined by information-structural (IS-) conditions: the verb serves to separate the aboutness topic from the rest of the clause (the comment). In this system, V1-clauses appear in sentences that lack a topic-comment division. The generalization of the V2 rule in German came about by extending the pattern representing topic comment structures onto sentences representing other discourse relations. In this process, the sentence-initial position was IS-neutralized, supporting an analysis of V2 in the modern language as verb movement to a unique head position with an EPP-feature.We compare this scenariowith the system of verb placement in Old English (OE) and argue that English did not develop a generalized V2rule, since the position of the verb inOEdid not serve to separate a special topic from the rest of the clause, but separated all background elements from the focus domain of the clause. Finally, we argue that the V2-pattern in OHG derives from a construction inwhich a topic and a V1-clause were juxtaposed. Thus, the historic scenario as a whole provides support for the analysis of V2 in German as being derived from an original V1 system.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/26471
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