In this article we analyze some characteristics of word order in Modern Eastern Armenian – henceforth MEA – which are especially interesting from a comparative point of view; in particular, we consider the position of the auxiliary. The auxiliary is in most sentences enclitic on the participle, but in certain contexts it can cliticize on other items as well, located at a distance from it. In these cases, the auxiliary may end up in a position not adjacent to the participle at all, on the left of its normal cliticization site. The analysis of the contexts allowing this peculiar order sheds light on the syntactic properties of MEA. We show that when the auxiliary is cliticized on something other than the participle, it obligatorily signals that the phrase in question is either a contrastive focus or an interrogative element. We argue that these structures are instances of a very well-known phenomenon concerning word order, namely Verb Second – henceforth V2. V2 is a property of several languages around the world, such as for instance Germanic languages and some Indo-Aryan languages, such as Kashmiri. We compare MEA with German and English on one side, and Kashmiri on the other, and show that MEA is an intermediate case, realizing properties of both types of languages. In particular, we argue that in MEA, as in Kashmiri, and to a lesser extent in English, V2 is sensitive to the information structure of the sentence, namely to the distinction between given and new information. This analysis can be relevant both from a descriptive and typological point of view, investigating properties of MEA not fully understood before, and from a theoretical one, providing insights on the very nature of V2 phenomena. This paper is organized as follows: in section 2 we present word order issues in very general terms, comparing evidence from English, German and Italian. In section 3 we consider the position of the auxiliary in MEA; in section 4 we compare MEA with Kashmiri. In the end we draw some conclusions.

Word order and information structure in Modern Eastern Armenian

GIORGI, Alessandra;HAROUTYUNIAN, SONA
2016

Abstract

In this article we analyze some characteristics of word order in Modern Eastern Armenian – henceforth MEA – which are especially interesting from a comparative point of view; in particular, we consider the position of the auxiliary. The auxiliary is in most sentences enclitic on the participle, but in certain contexts it can cliticize on other items as well, located at a distance from it. In these cases, the auxiliary may end up in a position not adjacent to the participle at all, on the left of its normal cliticization site. The analysis of the contexts allowing this peculiar order sheds light on the syntactic properties of MEA. We show that when the auxiliary is cliticized on something other than the participle, it obligatorily signals that the phrase in question is either a contrastive focus or an interrogative element. We argue that these structures are instances of a very well-known phenomenon concerning word order, namely Verb Second – henceforth V2. V2 is a property of several languages around the world, such as for instance Germanic languages and some Indo-Aryan languages, such as Kashmiri. We compare MEA with German and English on one side, and Kashmiri on the other, and show that MEA is an intermediate case, realizing properties of both types of languages. In particular, we argue that in MEA, as in Kashmiri, and to a lesser extent in English, V2 is sensitive to the information structure of the sentence, namely to the distinction between given and new information. This analysis can be relevant both from a descriptive and typological point of view, investigating properties of MEA not fully understood before, and from a theoretical one, providing insights on the very nature of V2 phenomena. This paper is organized as follows: in section 2 we present word order issues in very general terms, comparing evidence from English, German and Italian. In section 3 we consider the position of the auxiliary in MEA; in section 4 we compare MEA with Kashmiri. In the end we draw some conclusions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3681727
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