Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

How much verb moves to second position?

From the book Verb Second
Josef Bayer and Constantin Freitag


In this chapter, it is shown that finite verbs which are attracted by Verb-Second (V2) movement are reconstructed into their base position for interpretation. In fact, the lexical part of the finite verb is never interpreted in its fronted position. We present two groups of empirical findings which strongly support this conclusion. The first group provides grammar-internal evidence for reconstruction, the second group shows that the verb’s reconstruction can also be traced in the process of human sentence comprehension. The German verb brauchen, which happens to be a negative polarity item and thus needs to be interpreted in the scope of negation, provides evidence for the reconstruction process in on-line comprehension. Our discussion is embedded in a review of sentence processing in German. It is shown how processing can be efficient despite the fact that the verb’s semantic contribution may be delayed. Our account of V2 in grammar and parsing supports a rather tight link between the competence grammar and the dynamics of sentence processing.

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