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Clause Structure and Word Order in the History of German$
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Agnes Jäger, Gisella Ferraresi, and Helmut Weiß

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198813545

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198813545.001.0001

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Verb-initial declaratives in Old High German and in later German

Verb-initial declaratives in Old High German and in later German

Chapter:
(p.48) 4 Verb-initial declaratives in Old High German and in later German
Source:
Clause Structure and Word Order in the History of German
Author(s):

Svetlana Petrova

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198813545.003.0004

This chapter investigates the syntactic properties and the pragmatic behaviour of verb-initial declarative clauses in the history of German. The focus is on OHG because in this period, verb-initial declaratives represent a frequent, well-known alternative to canonical verb-second main clauses. It is argued that verb-initial declaratives are native in origin, and that they are derivable under a special interpretation of the verb-second rule. The main part of the chapter deals with the pragmatic properties of verb-initial declaratives in OHG, summarizing the various attempts at explaining the distribution of these orders and showing that further research is needed to arrive at a more adequate understanding of their function in the discourse. The chapter closes up with the discussion of the later development of verb-initial declaratives in German, sketching the controversial treatments of this question in the literature on German diachronic syntax.

Keywords:   verb-initial declaratives, thetic/categorical distinction, narrative inversion, topicalization/XP-fronting, verb fronting, verb-second

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