Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

Variation and change in the licensing of dependent V2 in German

From the book Verb Second
Svetlana Petrova


By analysing newly retrieved corpus data, the article seeks to discover classes of predicates that embed asyndetic V2-complements in Old and Middle High German. It shows that regarding V2-embedding, the distinction between modern German and its historical stages is less wide than assumed so far. A subclass of main verbs which does not admit embedded V2 in modern German but apparently does so in Old and Middle High German is the one including verbs involving an inherent negative feature, like non-assertive doubt and deny or negative implicative avoid and prevent. Importantly, these verbs select complements that have superficial V2-order only if they are in the scope of negation. In addition, this pattern emerges in late OHG, replacing an originally syndetic structure, after the loss of the respective negative complementizer ni. It is concluded that the superficial V2-order in this class of data results from changes in the expression of (expletive) negation, while the typology of V2-embedding predicates remains the same throughout the history of German.

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