Günther Grewendorf & Helmut Weiß (eds.). 2014. Bavarian Syntax. Contributions to the Theory of Syntax (Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 220). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. vi, 339 S.
This is an excellent collection of papers that are of relevance not only for those interested in dialect syntax in general and in the features of Bavarian in particular, but also for all scholars tackling issues of parametric variation within generative grammar.
This is so because, while the introductory chapter by Günther Grewendorf and Helmut Weiß merely introduces the phenomena to be discussed in the rest of the book, including doubly-filled comp, complementizer agreement, emphatic topicalization and negative concord, the individual contributions discuss the implications of these phenomena for central assumptions about the computational system. More concretely, the theoretical questions addressed in these papers which are currently under debate include the nature of movement, conditions on extraction and parasitic gaps, the make-up of the C-domain in German and the underpinnings of pro-drop in language in general.
In the first contribution “Syntactic and phonological properties of wh-operators and wh-movement in Bavarian”,Josef Bayerdiscusses the differential behaviour of wh-elements in embedded clauses in Bavarian with respect to the Doubly-filled-Comp-Filter (DfCF). Bayer first notes that the dialects in question generally do not obey the DfCF, as is illustrated in (1), and then points to a series of word-size wh-elements that require the obligatory deletion of the complementizer in the standard model, as is illustrated in (2).
(1) Schaugn=S zua, durch wiavui verschiedene Stationen dass=d
Bio-Milch durche muaß, ...
Look you at through how-many different stations that=the
bio-milk through must
‘Watch how many stages the bio-milk must pass through’
(2) a. * I mecht wissn wos dass=a g’macht hod
I want know what that=he done has
b. I mecht wissn wos-a g’macht hod
I want know what-he done has
‘I want to know what he has done’
Alternatively, Bayer proposes that these word-size wh-elements undergo head movement to C, rather than XP-movement to [Spec,CP]. Convincing empirical evidence for this alternative account and for the head status of these wh-elements is coming from clitic movement to C and complementizer agreement in Central Bavarian, showing that exactly those wh-elements that license C-deletion can restructure with clitic pronouns and host agreement morphemes. It must be stressed, however, that this phonological type of evidence does not directly speak in favour of the analysis proposed by Bayer: it is definitely compatible with it. Note that the data would also follow from the traditional analysis of wh-movement as XP-movement into [Spec,CP] and a mapping account of syntactic structure onto prosodic structure, in which wh-phrases that only comprise a wh-word are mapped onto a prosodic word rather than onto a phonological phrase. The prosodic word can then be taken to qualify as a host of an adjacent clitic pronoun as well as for the morphemes of complementizer agreement. The paper concludes with a discussion of similar data in other languages including Norwegian, Swedish and Northern Italian dialects that give support to a differential analysis of wh-elements.
The second contribution “Complementizer agreement (in Bavarian)” by Eric Fuß treats various perplexing properties of complementizer agreement in West Germanic dialects with a special focus on Bavarian. Complementizer agreement (CA) in many varieties, namely in those that show so-called double agreement (to be discussed in detail in the contribution by Melani Wratil), is subject to an adjacency effect that requires that an agreeing complementizer and the subject are strictly string-adjacent, as is illustrated in (3) for an intervening scrambled XP and in (4) for an intervening focus particle (Hellendoorn Dutch, cf. Van Koppen 2012: 161).
(3) dat / *darr=e [op the wärmsten dag van’t joar] wiej tegen oonze wil ewärkt hebt
that/ that=1P on the warmest day of-the year we against our will worked have
‘that we have worked against our will on the wormest day of the year’
(4) dat /* darr=e [zölfs wiej] de wedstrijd wint
that/* that=1P even we the game win
‘that even we win the game’
On the other hand, other data show that CA is dependent on the phonological realization of the finite verb in the minimal clause, as is illustrated by cases of Right-node Raising and comparative deletion in Bavarian in (5) and (6).
(5) a. ??dass=sd du noch Minga und dass da=Hans noch Truchtlaching geht
that=2P you to Munich and that the=John to Truchtlaching goes
b. dass du noch Minga und dass da=Hans noch Truchtlaching geht
that you to Munich and that the=John to Truchlaching goes
‘that you go to Munich and that John goes to Truchlaching’
(6) a. D’Resl is gresser als wia=st du bist
the Resl is taller than as=2P you are
b. *D’Resl is gresser als wia=st du
the Resl is taller than as=2P you
c. D’Resl is gresser als wia du
the Resl is taller than as you
‘the Resl is taller than you (are)’
Fuß argues that these facts speak against the syntactic nature of the relevant Agree-relation, since the classical case of subject-verb agreement in T is not affected by similar restrictions and must always be realized. Consequently, Fuß argues for a post-syntactic account of the phenomenon, which may be taken to be sensitive a) to string adjacency and b) to the phonological realization of the relevant element. To this end, he proposes a post-syntactic copy operation, copying the feature matrix from T onto C under strictly defined adjacency conditions given in (7) plus context dependent rules for vocabulary insertion to account for the dependence on the parallel realization of the relevant features on the verb.
(7) Locality of feature insertion:
The post-syntactic insertion of ϕ-features can target a functional head X only if X is structurally adjacent (there is no intervening head) to a functional head Y hosting a (valued) ϕ-set.
It must be noted, however, that the locality condition on the post-syntactic copy operation is identical to the restrictions on head movement in the syntax. Moreover, the copy operation is a core operation in syntax. Fuß’s proposal thus leads to a doubling of operations and conditions on them in syntax and phonology. One wonders whether this is an accident or whether there has been missed a generalisation.
He then goes on to show that other phenomena like first conjunct agreement and external possessor agreement in Tegelen Dutch and West Flemish, as is illustrated in (8), which have been argued to constitute clear evidence in favour of a syntactic account of CA, can (also) be handled in a parallel way in his postsyntactic account. As can be seen in (8a), taken from Van Koppen (2012), the complementizer agrees with the subject of the first conjunct while the verb shows plural agreement. In a similar way, it can be seen in (8b), taken from Haegeman & Van Koppen (2012), that the complementizer agrees with the external plural possessor, while the verb shows agreement with the singular subject.
(8) a. Ich dink de=s [doow en ich] ôs treffe
I think that=2SG you and I us meet-PL
‘I think that you and I will meet each other’
b. omda-n die venten toen juste underen computer kapot was
because-PL those guys then just their computer broken was
‘because those guys’ computer was broken just then’
The contribution “The rise and fall of double agreement (DA)” by Melani Wratil throws a light on the diachronic source of DA, on its relation to complementizer agreement and on the mechanisms operative in language acquisition that may lead to its retention or loss in languages. The empirical basis of this highly interesting study is constituted by a diachronic analysis of DA in Carinthian and Kansas Bukovina Bohemian.
Wratil argues that DA derives from weak subject pronouns cliticized onto C being reanalysed as C-related verbal agreement forms. Since the original cliticization process targeted both finite verbs in main clauses and word-size subordinators in embedded clauses, the diachronic process triggers also CA. In Carinthian DA was partly lost and then fully restored in various dialects. First, the C-oriented agreement marker was spread onto a number of frequently used short verbs in sentence final position due to analogical creation. But it did not spread to the conjugation paradigm of other verbs. Today, the original distinctions between clause-initial and clause-final markers are interestingly restored. As is pointed out by Wratil, this process of replacing a uniform paradigm with a more complex allomorphy is rather unexpected, but follows from Fuß & Wratil’s principle of specificity in (9).
(9) Should the insertion of more than one phonological realization be possible in a given context, then choose the form that combines the greatest subset of the morpho-syntactic features contained in the relevant insertion context.
Wratil argues that the old 1PL-ending /-n/ is more specified than /-ma/, since it also contains the feature [subjunctive] indicating the dependent nature of embedded verbs. With this stipulation in place, the above mentioned diachronic process follows.
A similar but slightly different case of development is represented by Kansas Bukovina Bohemian. The rise of DA in this dialect is arguably due to weak pronouns cliticizing onto the finite verb in C as in Carinthian, but this variety has lost CA in a process of unifying the inflectional paradigm of matrix and embedded verbs. Wratil argues that this process is due to a contact-induced word order change in embedded clauses. She argues that sentences like (10) exhibit a change from head-final to head-initial T, giving rise to embedded clauses in which the finite verb always directly follows the subject.
(10) wenn du häst den kent
if you had this-one known
‘if you had known this one’
According to Wratil, it is this structure that parallels the corresponding root structures with respect to the surface positioning of the verb that gave rise to the analogical transfer of /-ma/ suffixation to embedded 1PL verb forms, as is illustrated in (11). In consequence of the reanalysis of /-ma/ as verbal inflection, the original DA markers adjacent or attached to a complementizer were reanalysed as cliticized weak subject pronouns, as can be seen in (11b) from the fact that the subject pronoun cannot be realized as well anymore.
(11) a. Und wi=ma / wie mir hama gesn kot
and when=1PL when we have-we eaten had
b. * und wiema mir hama gesn kot
and when=1PL we have-we eaten had
‘and when we had had eaten’
The contribution “Structures of emphatic topicalization (ET) in Bavarian” by Uli Lutztreats the intriguing properties of the construction in (12) and discusses the merits and problems of two recent accounts of it.
(12) An Gurkensalat wenn-s habn, den kinnans=ma aa gebn. (Middle Bavarian)
a cucumber-salat if-you have that can-you=me also give
‘if you have a cucumber salat, you can give me that as well’
The construction displays three basic properties: a) the topicalization of a constituent that is interpreted as emphatic within the dependent clause, b) the obligatory movement of this clause into the left-periphery of the matrix clause, and c) the licensing of what seems to be a parasitic gap in the matrix clause, as is illustrated in (13).
(13) Den wann=i derwisch, derschlag=i!
him if=I catch, slay=I
‘if I catch him I will kill him’
There is general agreement that the emphatic constituent does not leave the embedded clause. But the evidence for this assumption is relatively weak and consists in the unavailability of a binding relation from the emphatic phrase into the matrix clause, as is illustrated in (14).
(14) *A jeder Menschi wenn ti nachdenkt foit eam was g’scheids ei
every person when reflects fall him something intelligent in
‘Every person finds an intelligent solution, when he thinks’
The problem with (14) is that the example is independently ruled out as a case of weak cross-over. Given this, the only argument remaining in favour of the standard analysis is the general inextractability from adjunct clauses. It is assumed, as was orginally proposed by Bayer, that the emphatic constituent contains an uninterpretable feature that needs to be licensed by an accordingly specified functional head in the root clause – by Force in Bayer (2001) and by Topic in Grewendorf (2012), accounting for the obligatory pied-piping of the embedded clause.
In his article, Lutz raises a number of questions concerning ET. The most important one being what kind of topic emphatic topics (as they are called by Bayer) are and what ET has in common with other cases of topicalization. The question is all the more relevant since ET comprises quantified and negative expressions, as is illustrated in (15).
(15) a. A jeds Kind wann er fiatern miaßt, no waar er arm dro
a-every child if he feed has-to then were he poor at-it
‘he would be at a loss if he had to feed every child’
b. Koa Hund wann gschlog’n wead, sammer aa z’friedn
no dog when beaten is, are-we also satsified
‘we are also satisfied if no dog is beaten’
This observation raises questions about the parasitic gap version given in (16) in the analysis of Grewendorf (2012). Grewendorf proposes that cases like (16) do not involve a parasitic gap but topic drop. As is illustrated in (17), the gap in the matrix clause is licensed by an empty operator in [Spec,FinP]. The interpretation of (16b) requires that the (dropped) topic in the matrix clause co-varies with the trace bound by the ET constituent. But the relevant configuration – an operator that c-commands the empty topic – is missing in the structure (17) proposed by Grewendorf (2012). In addition, the problem arises that an operator (the topic operator) cannot be bound by another operator.
(16) a. A jeda Hundi wann ti sei Fuada kriagt, wedelt ti mitn Schwanz
a-every dog when his food gets, wags with the tail
‘every dog wags his tail when he gets his food’
b. Koa Hundi wenn ti g’schlogn wead, wedelt timitn Schwanz
no dog when beaten is wags with-the tail
‘no dog wags his tail, when he is beaten’
(17) [TopP [FinP deni [wann-e ti derwisch ]] [Top [FinP OPi [derschlog i ti ]]]]
The second question addressed by Lutz concerns the grammatical differences that account for the availability of ET in Bavarian and its absence in Standard German. The first option of employing a simple version of the DFCF (obeyed in Standard German) that would rule out topicalization of the emphatic constituent in the embedded clause does not work in view of complex cases like (18).
(18) Der Xaver wann dass kummt, dad i gern wissn
the Xaver when that comes, did I really like-to know
‘I would really like to know when Xaver will come’
Cases like (18) call for a more sophisticated analysis of the C-domain in Bavarian. Grewendorf (2012) employing a Rizzi-based analysis proposed that complementizers in Bavarian occupy a low position in the C-domain (FinP). Assuming that complementizers occupy a high position in the C-domain in Standard German requiring that the emphatic constituent is licensed by a higher Topic-head as in the account of Grewendorf (2012) would then explain why the construction is not possible in the standard language (for the mere lack of such a head higher than ForceP), which consequently uses a hanging topic structure as in (19) to achieve the same interpretational effect.
(19) Den Hans ↓ wenn ich den sehe, bin ich angespeist
the John when I that-one see, am I full-eaten
‘I am fed up when I see John’
The contribution “Gaps and parasitic gaps in Bavarian” by Günther Grewendorf is focused on arguing for two particular points in the analysis of ET in Bavarian: a) the emphatic constituent remains in the dependent clause and b) the additional gap found in some subcases of ET is not a parasitic gap but results from topic drop.
As far as point a) is concerned, Grewendorf argues that the German C-domain only provides for two XP-positions in front of the finite verb, which he identifies with [Spec,FinP] and [SpecTopP] (reserved for cases of left dislocation). Thus in the variant (20b) of a standard case of ET in (20a), there is arguably no position for the ET-constituent de Mas in the main clause.
(20) a. De Mas wenn=i no drink, bin=i bsuffa
The litre (of beer) when=I still drink, am=I drunk
b. De Mas wenn=i no drink, dann bin=i bsuffa
the liter (of beer) when=I still drink, then am=I drunk
‘If I drink another liter of beer, (then) I am drunk’
As far as point b) is concerned, Grewendorf shows with a number of arguments that the possible additional gap in the main clause as in (21) does not behave like a typical parasitic gap. Even though it can be filled with a resumptive pronoun, the gap in ET differs from parasitic gaps, as far as instances of Case matching (between the true gap and the parasitic one) are concerned. Furthermore, he points out that parasitic gaps are a) typically found in environments where extraction is impossible and b) are predominantly absent in finite clauses (some marginal cases discussed in the literature apart).
(21) Den wenn=i dawisch, daschlog=i
him if=I catch kill=I
‘I will kill him if I catch him’
Furthermore, he argues that the case of ET involving quantified expressions cited by Lutz are not really instances of ET, but involve topicalization of the quantifier in the main clause and a parasitic gap in the embedded clause, as in (22).
(22) Koa Hund wenn gschlogn wead, traut=si no amol zur Tür nei
no dog when beaten is, dares-himself another time (by the door in
‘no dog dares to come in by the door when he is beaten’
Grewendorf notes that the cases discussed by Lutz typically involve stress on the nominal head of the quantifier, while cases of ET typically involve stress on the quantifier. The latter pattern, however, is ungrammatical when combined with a gap in the matrix clause according to Grewendorf, as in (23a). However, parallel cases to (23a), as in (23b), sound completely natural in my Bavarian and for other Bavarian speakers (p.c. Josef Bayer), raising questions about the analysis to be discussed below in terms of topic drop, since topics are restricted to referential expressions.
(23) a. *KOAN Hund wenn=i dawisch daschlog=i
no dog when-I catch, kill-I
‘I kill no dog when I catch him’
b. KOA (anziga) Asylant wenn nach Bayern kimmt, kon-se beschweren
no single asylant when to Bavaria comes, can- himself complain
‘No single asylant can complain when he comes to Bavaria’
Grewendorf, however, concludes that if in ET the true gap is in the embedded clause, an additional gap in the matrix clause cannot be licensed, if the element extracted from the embedded clause is a quantifier and therewith paves the way for the analysis of the matrix gap as involving topic drop, which is necessarily restricted to referential entities.
The analysis that Grewendorf presents (despite its empirical limitations noted above) is very elegant since it makes use of phase theory to account for the extraction of the emphatic constituent as well as for the pied-piping of the embedded clause. The emphatic constituent is licensed via an Agree-relation with the Topic head in the main clause, while the gap in the matrix clause is licensed by a null topic operator in [FinP] explaining neatly why an additional gap in the matrix clause is incompatible with a left-dislocated embedded clause (where Spec,FinP is occupied by the d-pronoun), as is illustrated in (24).
(24) a. in=Hans wenn=i dawisch, daschlog=i
the John when-I catch, kill-I
b. *in=Hans wenn=i dawisch, dann daschlog=i
the John when-I catch, then kill-I
c. in=Hans wenn=i dawisch, dann daschlog=i’n.
the John wenn-I catch, then kill-I.him
‘when I catch John (then) I will kill him’
In her contribution “Observations on relative clauses in Bavarian”, Dalina Kallulli reanalyses a similar construction to ET that she calls Bavarian V2-relative cleft construction and that is illustrated in (25).
(25) das ist der Kerl, den wenn=i erwisch, erschlag=i
this is the guy whom wenn-I catch, kill-I
‘This is the guy that I will kill when I catch him’
Kallulli argues – against the original analysis by Felix (1985) – that the relative pronoun den in (25) while being topicalized in the embedded clause does not move into a position in the matrix clause, barring a plain analysis of the gap in the matrix clause as a parasitic one. Instead, she argues that the matrix gap is analysed as a null resumptive pronoun, i.e. pro. The main claim of the paper, however, is that what is standardly assumed to be a pronoun in (25), namely den, is in fact created by phonological fusion or PF-merger of the complementizer dass and a clitic pronoun, in the case of (25), with n. The core element of her analysis is the proposal that the clitic pronoun in a system with CP-recursion is first XP-moved into the lower Specifier of the C-domain in order to undergo local PF-merger to the adjacent complementizer in the higher head position. This analysis is based on the proposal by Pesetsky & Torrego (2006) to reanalyse Dutch relative pronouns as agreeing complementizers. The proposal is theoretically sound and receives cross-linguistic support from similar constructions in Italian, but is confronted with the empirical question how parallel data involving a relative pronoun within a PP, as is illustrated in (26), can be dealt with in a parallel way in this account, as Kallulli herself points out. Another interesting question posed by this construction is the question, why the clause hosting the fronted when-clause – though embedded – shows obligatory V2-order.
(26) das ist der Kerl, mit dem wenn=i tanze, stoße ich ständig zusammen
this is the guy with whom when-I dance, collide I always together
‘This is the guy with whom I always collide when I dance with him’
In his contribution “Really weird subjects”, Helmut Weiß discusses the syntactic and semantic properties of what look like PPs but behave like regular plural DPs in subject and possibly other argument positions, as is illustrated in (27).
(27) a. Von Hintermaier hand scho fuatgfoan
Of Hintermaier are already away-driven
‘Hintermaiers have already gone away’
b. Beim Semmelmeier san noch Mariazell gfoan
At Semmelmeier are to Mariazell driven
‘Semmelmeiers have gone to Mariazell’
On the basis of the interpretational properties of these XPs based on family names (FN), Weiß argues for his Iceberg-Principle, that is the claim that there is more syntactic structure than what meets the eye on the surface. To this end, he discusses two possible analyses – one respecting the requirement of minimal syntactic structure – and shows that it is insufficient, in order to move onto his second analysis in which bei+FN and von+FN involve a complex DP with a possessive small clause that accounts for the historical development of the two constructions as well as for their similarities and crucial differences.
In her contribution “Austro-Bavarian directionals”, Bettina Gruber analyses the syntactic and semantic properties of two speaker-related suffixes that attach in a regular manner to directional prepositions that may or may not have a complement, as is illustrated in (28).
(28) a. Da Bua rennt (auf den Berg) auffa (to a place where the speaker is)
The boy runs (up the mountain) up-a
b. Da Bua rennt (auf den Berg) auffi (to a place where the speaker is not)
The boy runs (up the mountain) up-i
‘The boy is running up the mountain’
Gruber excludes the simplest analysis of these affixes as specifying a path to or from the speaker, but does not bring many arguments for this exclusion. Instead she proposes that both affixes specify a path towards a certain location that is in one case equal to the speaker’s location and in the other case different from the speaker’s location. In particular, Gruber argues that these affixes lexicalize the relational head that is generally taken to connect figure and ground, where the ground is specified as coinciding with the speaker’s location (SL) or with a location other than the speaker’s location (+/- AT), as is illustrated in (29ab) and the relevant interpretation specified in (29cd), respectively.
(29) a. [PathP auf [PlaceP Place [Place' [ + AT SL]]] auffa
b. [PathP auf [PlaceP Place [Place' [ – AT SL]]] auffi
c. an upward movement targets the speaker location
d. an upward movement targets a non-speaker location
While this semantics is certainly correct in many cases, I believe it is not fine grained enough to account for all the meaning aspects of these affixes. To see this, note first that if speaker (and hearer) stay on the ground, a surface of a table counts as a location that differs from that of the speaker, the speaker’s location being identified with the surface of the floor, as is illustrated in (30). In this case (30a) is the only grammatical option. For (30b) to be grammatical, the speaker should sit on the table.
(30) a. Leg des Buach auf’n Tisch auffi!
Put the book on- the table up-i
b. *Leg des Buach auf’n Tisch auffa!
Put the book on the table up-a
‘Put the book on the table!’
But in a situation in which the hearer is standing on a ladder (above the speaker) in a library and the speaker is on the ground and the hearer is asking the speaker what he shall do with the book that he has just taken from the shelf, the speaker must answer with (31a), with (31b) being ungrammatical.
(31) a. Leg des Buach auf’n Tisch oawa!
Put the book on-the table down-a
b. *Leg des Buach auf’n Tisch oawi!
Put the book on the table down-i
‘Put the book on the table!’
Note that in the author’s account (31b) should be grammatical since SL does not coincide with the location where the book is ending up, namely, on the table, indicating the need for future research on the exact semantics and pragmatics of these affixes.
The second important claim by Gruber is that complex directionals like in (32a) involve two different path phrases, since they can occur in both orders and can be topicalized independently from each other, as is illustrated in (32b) and (32cd).
(32) a. Die Mama geht auffi auf’n Berg
The Mama goes up-i on the mountain
b. Die Mama geht auf’n Berg auffi
The Mama goes on the mountain up-i
c. Auffi geht die Mama auf’n Berg
Up-i goes the Mama on the mountain
d. Auf’n Berg geht die Mama auffi
On the mountain goes the Mama up-i
‘The mama goes up the hill’
In her analysis two path phrases are adjoined to the VP hosting the verb and the argument. However, the two variants in (32ab) differ in a way that is not expected in her analysis, while in (32b) main stress falls on Berg as is expected, main stress in (32a) falls on auffi, which is not expected, since main stress always falls on the right-most adjunct in German. In (32a), the constituent auf’n Berg is obligatorily destressed and thus behaves intonationally like an adjunct that has been extraposed.
The contribution “IPP-constructions in Alemannic and Bavarian in comparison” by Oliver Schallert is an in-depth empirical study of the possible word orders and the diverse replacement forms in Alemannic and Bavarian dialects spoken in Austria. The study concentrates on three-membered verb clusters comprising an auxiliary verb, a participial main verb and a dependent infinitive that gives rise to the famous infinitivus pro participio (IPP) effect in Standard German, as is illustrated in (33).
(33) Lea hat das Buch nicht lesen wollen / *gewollt
Lea has the book not r ead want-INF / wanted
‘Lea did not want to read the book’
In the dialects, next to the standard Ersatzinfinitiv (IPP), other replacement forms like supina, prefixless participles and what Schallert calls indifference forms appear. An indifference form is an infinitive that is used instead of a participle in environments lacking a dependent infinitive, that is, with nominal complements. The empirical study also focuses on the variation of word orders in these verb clusters and specifically addresses the question which of the observable orders allow for non-verbal material to intervene in the verb cluster (VPR). This question is also of theoretical interest, since Haider’s particular word order account predicts that VPR should not occur in left-branching verb clusters, but be licit in right-branching ones. Schallert’s study confirms that this prediction is fullfilled in the dialects under investigation, which allow the following word orders 3-2-1, 1-3-2, 1-2-3 (1-2) and 2-1, but only the orders that exhibit partially right-branching structures allow for non-verbal elements to intervene: 1-X-3-2, 1-2-X-3 and 1-X-2. Interestingly, Schallert notes that the dialects always show compactness in the order 3-1-2, which is not expected under Haider’s account.
Finally, Schallert provides an account of the observed possible word orders and replacement forms in Williams formal language CAT (cf. Williams 2003) that serves as generator in a stochastic OT-approach that is based on an evaluation by six constraints that excludes not only the impossible orders but also provides an account of the word order preferences observed in the data. I must admit at the outset that I am not particularly fond of OT-approaches to grammatical variation, since this type of account only restates rather than explains the facts. For instance, there is a constraint *V-Participle that Schallert adopts from Schmid (2005), which states that a participle must not embed an infinitive to account for the IPP-effect seen above. In my opinion such constraints cannot be part of the grammar, since in most European languages such a constraint is plainly violated, that is, there is generally no problem with embedding infinitives in languages that have temporal auxiliary-participle constructions. One would like to understand why there is an incompatability between infinitive and participle in West Germanic rather than merely state the fact that there is such an incompatability. Similar observations hold for the other constraints adopted and proposed by Schallert.
The contribution “The Upper German differential” by Werner Abraham addresses a number of methodological and theoretical questions that become relevant when confronted with dialectal or regiolectal variation. As a native speaker of two main variants of Oberdeutsch, namely High Alemannic and Austrian Bavarian, he is in a rare and privileged position to outline the vast dimension of this variation in a list of phenomena and to discuss and evaluate their impact on the objectives and metholology of micro-linguistics on the one hand and their implications for UG on the other hand. Abraham stresses that investigations in dialect syntax are of an indismissible value for micro-linguistics, since they bring in a wealth of data of closely related varieties, as well as for the investigation of UG-principles that center around the minimalist notion of economy. Since oral-only codes like dialects operate on on-line processing and the typical lack of working memory, as Abraham outlines, dialects are subject to different constraints that are deviced to secure success in communication. His contribution is thought-provoking and opens up a new field of investigating diverse phenomena in terms of processing demands and benefits. The empirical phenomena discussed comprise adjectival inflection, the V-complex and the question of OV/VO in verb clusters, the simple past and the South German Aux-filter and double negation.
In conclusion, the volume provides not only a lot of interesting data for those readers who want to know more about Bavarian but also important observations and arguments concerning parameters and variation as well as the differences that characterize the written standard language and spoken colloquial variants.
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