1. Contrastive Linguistics
• • • 1940s in the context of second language teaching Interference – Transfer: - “false friends”

E.g. If I asked, he would E.g. *If I would ask, he would  Devoicing of word-final stops in Dutch vs. English + aspiration; in English vs. Dutch a. A more theoretical approach. • • Eastern Europe; Poland, Romania,…  English is a popular language Hawkins (1986); BrE linguist – link with typology –few features, many languages – Hawkins – many features, few languages – Holistic approach: unifying the contrasts, 1 answer. Corpus Linguistics. E.g. translations of modals in books of Harry Potter; all different types of grammatical translation. The more to the West, the more auxiliaries that are being used. Global English, staying and growing bigger as the world’s dominating language

a. Hawkins (1986) and transformational grammar Surface: (phonology, morphology, syntax)  Semantic representation Standard Theory Chomsky 1965

2. Grammatical Morphology
“In general, all the grammatical distinctions that are drawn within English inflectional morphology are drawn in German as well, though not vice versa.’’

a. Examples? • • Distinction in German and in English Distinction only in German

a. What is counted? Grammatical distinctions: slots in (nominal, verbal, …) paradigms • • Not the constructions in any one slot German vs. English plural Not the number of lexical items to which the distinctions apply E.g. German Onkel vs. English uncle(s)

a. Nominal Morphology The case morphology of German properly includes that of English • Form is one thing. • Function is another  So, what is it that determines the use of the cases? ○ Predicates ○ Prepositions E.g. Frans Plank Ich winkte ihm. Ich rief ihm zu. +Dat. +Dat.

I waved to him. I called to him.

Ich winkte ihn heran. Ich rief ihn. +Acc. +Acc.

I waved him hither. I called him.  English not quite unproblematic either [+Acc.] pronoun where one would expect a [+Nom.] one.  ‘Drift towards the invariable word’ (Sapir 1921)

○ ○

English morphology is more vague ‘Pretty close to the bedrock of morphological distinctions that all languages need to draw, and beyond which syncretism cannot penetrate.’

Plank has three points – Systematic relation between degree of specificness in the selectional restrictions of predicates and specificity of basic grammatical relations – <Irrelevant> – German with prefixes vs. English with stems

a. Word Order freedom Clause-internal order only • German is freer – Freedom in German, not in English – Freedom rule in German and English but more productive in English

 Why? Principle of covariation of functional equivalents. ‘The more we assign a language overt case marking the freer can be its basic word order and conversely.’ - Keenan 1978 • • In German word order variation is related to pragmatics – German unmarked IO + DO  DO + IO only when DO is definite/theme – Unmarked DO + PP  DO + IO only when DO is definite/theme And in English word order?

a. Case Syncretism Related to word order fixation, also to SVO order? • Greenberg 1996 - Universal 41: ‘If in a language the verb follows both the nominal subject and the nominal object as the dominant order, the language almost always has a case system.’ OV OV VO VO + Case - Case + Case - Case English German, Old English <rare, but still Ijo>

– –

From [+ Case] to [- Case] From OV to VO case

 Word order change, then loss of case  Word order change simultaneous with loss of

other Germanic

English German Dutch
 Need a language for contrastive point of view ~ Sapir-Worf theory  E.Sapir wrote “Drift  This isn’t random at all; subtitle of the book = Unifying the contrast. (=Typology) •  Relationship: Many contrast are related; Form German: Direct  complex form, simple meaning English: Indirect  simple form, complex meaning



CHAPTER I: Introduction: English/German contrasts





1. English/German contrasts in relation to Universal Grammar and Language Typology
a. Universal Grammar (Chomsky) = a theory defining the properties and regularities which hold for all languages • Formal universals: those that relate to the form and shape of the grammar  various components, different rule types, principle of interaction Substantive universals: contents of these rules, syntactic categories, distinctive features within the phonological component etc.

 Absolute universals: define grammatical properties that are exemplified in every language. • Generative grammarians: since universals are properties that all languages share, they can be derived from the study of any one language.

a. Typological Universal Grammar = universals are characterizations of the regularities in the ways languages may differ from one another/structures which differ from one another are among the primary objects of study. Classifications of languages made in terms of the properties or property clusters mentioned in the variation-defining universals are then referred to as typologies. Cross-linguistic.

b. Hawkins • • Motivation: search for principles that underlie cross-language variation Approach: look at a large number of variant linguistic properties in a small number of languages.

 It will be argued that the phonological changes that destroyed the English case system were the ultimate trigger that set in motion the syntactic changes leading to the present contrasts. • 3 reasons for comparing two languages Property A Property B


Language A’ has the same properties as B’, but not vice versa.

Property C – English and German are both Germanic languages; the contrasts between them do not involve small changes in limited grammatical areas, but profound readjustments across all the major areas of the grammar. Property D Hawkins shall present evidence that there is a descriptive generalisation which unites these major areas of contrast.

1. The unity of English/German contrasts
a. Keenan • The syntactic variation between languages can profitably be viewed from a logical-semantic perspective. – For example: the extent to which surface structures do or do not preserve properties of their corresponding logical structures correlates with numerous differences in syntactic rule behavior. The more syntactic structures preserve features of their corresponding logical structures, the more accessible these structures are to operations such as Relative Clause Formation Here is the book I have read. Here is the book that/which I have read. Here is the book that I have read it. (Welsh) Here is the book that I know where you have bought it. (Welsh) Here is the book about which I know where you have bought it. • English surface structures exhibit less correspondence with their semantic representations than those of German.

semantic structure

German surface structure English surface structure


 Consequences: ○ It suggests that the historical changes that gave rise to current contrasts followed a single typological direction. If these changes had been more random, with no common directionality over time, we would have expected a much less systematic relationship between the two languages than we actually get.

semantic structure surface

German surface structure English surface structure Old English English structure Modern


Sapir: notion of ‘drift’ Phonetic attrition (e.g.: Den Man liebt die Frau (woman does the loving) Case syncretism (*The man loves the woman (Accusative falls away, hard to tell who’s the subject)) Syntactic changes (The woman loves the man)

• •

Synchronic: both sensible compromises between productive and receptive ease Diachronic: morphosyntactic changes

1. Methodology
“Primarily inductive in this book, data-driven. Although it’s important, when comparing two languages, to employ common theoretical assumptions in the descriptions of both.” • • • Describe the differences Arrive at generalisations Explain everything – Synchronic – Diachronic


CHAPTER II: Grammatical Morphology
1. Inflectional morphology: a contrastive overview
• German has a richer inflectional morphology than English. In general, all the grammatical distinctions that are drawn within English inflectional morphology are drawn in German as well, though not vice versa.  German has more! (e.g. case system)

Old English has a morphology very similar to that of German today. And whereas German has preserved its inflectional system largely intact, English has reduced it.  Movement of English towards case syncretism. • Grammatical distinctions are the slots in the paradigm. E.g. singular – plural in Dutch, English and German: German Sing/Plur al Plural Forms 2 (Sing & Pl) English 2 Dutch 2

9 forms another forms 4

1 more form

common 2 common forms + exceptions

common (9 possible forms)

 Yiddish has even more!

1. Case marking in the noun phrase
a. Morphology • • German, but not English, also marks gender in full noun phrase and pronouns. German also distinguishes four cases: nominative, accusative, genitive and dative. These are signalled by inflectional endings on the determiner, the adjective and the noun.

Old English had a system of case inflections that was similar in major respects to what we find in Modern German.  Genitive in Modern English: no changes are made. There’s also the possibility of the double genitive a.k.a. the group genitive • The expressive power of definite article case is identical to that of all other determiner + noun sequences, and also to that of all determiner + adjective + noun and zero-morpheme + adjective + noun sequences. Weakest distinction: nominative and accusative; feminine and neuter.

Morphology of nouns or determiners is not enough to understand the meaning of the sentence. And it’s that what German shows the most.


German Def. Art. 6
der, die, das dem, den, des




de, het


the should be one, only different realisation (allomorphs? )

Indef. Art. 6




2 or 1

einen, eine, ein einem, eines einen,


a, an


guter, gutes gut, guten gute, gutem,

goed, goede


Distinctions in the case systems:

Nom. – Acc. English German 2 /

Nom. – Acc. – Dat. / 3 Dutch has 2 as well ~ English

 Forms for each slot; English has lesser expressive power than German.


a. A contrastive summary • Distinctions in the personal pronouns: Dutch turns out to be more an extreme in the case of the pronouns. It sometimes has reduced forms, which leads to more pronouns. Case marking on German pronouns is more expressive than it is in noun phrases with nominal heads. The English pronoun system is much richer, however, and makes the following formal distinctions: I/me/mine, you/yours, he/him/his, she/her/hers, it/its, we/us/ours/, they/them/theirs and who/(whom)/whose.

• •


2 – 3 1 – 7 2 – 3 2 – 2 1 – 2 2 – 2 2 – 2 Nom – Acc 3

Nom – Acc – Dat

2 forms for each slot

What does it mean to be ‘in the middle?’: Different interpretations (see the counting of pronouns, etc.) Sometimes not even in ‘the middle’, where German or English are in the middle. – e.g.: Dutch doubles its pronouns; mij/me, hij/’ie, ik/’k (no allomorphs)


1. The use of the cases
The assignment of case to a noun phrase seems to be largely determined by the choice of accompanying verb, adjective or preposition.  Assignment is dependent on its head. a. Case assignment in phrasal categories • • • • Preposition as head of a prepositional phrase: accusative only, dative only, either accusative or dative, or genitive. Adjective within the adjective phrase: accusative, genitive, dative Possessor noun phrase: genitive Verbs – Two-place predicate: ○ 1: nominative ○ 2: accusative, dative or genitive – Three-place predicate: ○ Most common: nominative - accusative – dative ○ Followed by: nominative – accusative – genitive ○ Handful of: nominative – accusative – accusative

Prep. Adj. N. V 1-place Nom.

Acc. Acc.

Dat. Dat.

Gen. Gen. Gen.



2-place 3-place

Nom. Nom.

Acc. Acc.

Dat. Dat.

Gen. Gen. Prep.

a. The predictability of case assignment In generative grammars of Modern German, the case requirements of verbs and also of prepositions and adjectives are specified lexically, i.e. as part of the non-predictable grammatical information which is stored together with a lexical item in the lexicon


2. The semantic consequences of the loss of inflectional morphology
• The loss of inflectional morphology in the history of English has resulted in on of the most obvious contrasts with Modern German. Sapir refers to it as ‘the drift towards the invariable word’.

 German has not remained unchanged either, of course: there has been some morphological syncretism; there has been a decline in the use of certain form. ○ Certain well-established forms, like the plural form, have resisted the drift to invariable words, possibly because they symbolize certain stronger form cravings we do not yet fully understand. • Invariable words and the absorption of semantic nuances, result in greater ambiguity (or vagueness) for the morphemes in question. I.e. the range of meanings covered by English grammatical form classes is larger than it was, and larger than in German.  We need a linguistic context E.g. where do you live? where do you go? On the other hand, it’s interesting that certain morphological distinctions have not been lost in English. These semantic distinctions are clearly felt to be more than a ‘nuancing’ and so syncretism has been avoided. “Pretty close here to the bedrock of morphological distinctions that all languages need to draw, and beyond which syncretism cannot penetrate.” (Not true: Chinese can function without plural forms!)

 What Sapir appears to be drawing attention to is a general realignment in the assignment of meanings to linguistic forms. Languages can vary in the extent to which numerous semantic distinctions are explicitly drawn in surface morphology. Not to draw these distinctions in surface doesn’t render them inexpressible and doesn’t make the language in any sense impoverished – it simply means that their expression is carries by fewer linguistic forms, each with broader semantic coverage (i.e. more ambiguity or vagueness). And the precise interpretation that is explicitly marked in the one language will typically be pragmatically derived in the other, or may on occasion not be drawn at all.  One more comment: one more distinction that English kept is the case in (some) pronouns E.g. Who did you see? Whom did you see? I saw him. ⇄ He saw me  But! John and I/me want to like to add that … Who wants to leave now? *I/Me!


1. Lexical morphemes and derivational morphology
• German regularly forces a semantic distinction within a lexical field where English uses an undifferentiated and broader term. The German verbs are more restricted in their semantic coverage and cannot readily substitute for one another, whereas the single English verbs extends over all the semantic distinctions with respect to which each of the German verbs is sensitive. E.g. I know this story. Ich kenne diese Geschichte. Ik ken deze geschiedenis. I know how one can do this Ich weiss, wie man das tun kann. Ik weet hoe men dat kan doen. I know English Ich kann Englisch. Ik kan Engels. • The class of real-world situations that English sentences containing general predicates can describe is very broad, whereas the German translations describe a much narrower class of situations. There is also that much more vagueness in these English lexemes that impose minimal selectional restriction requirements.

 We consider the difference between affected and effected objects ○ Effected objects: objects that are brought into existence by the action described in the predicate ○ Affected objects: antecedently existing objects that are involved in the action described by the predicate.

 No distinction in English, whereas German makes one.  What about Dutch? Sometimes, it distinguishes affected and effected objects, like German, but sometimes it doesn’t, like English. • Plank (1980) has three very general and interesting points to make: – He claims that languages like German whose predicates impose tighter selectional restrictions on their arguments, will also be those languages whose basic grammatical relations are well differentiated semantically, i.e. which associate relatively specific semantic roles with these grammatical relations. The degree of specificity in the selectional restrictions of the predicates of a language is systematically correlated with the degree of semantic specificity of its basic grammatical relations. The tighter its selectional restriction, the narrower the range of semantic interpretations for its basic grammatical relations; the more neutral or looser in its selectional restrictions, the more semantically diverse its basic grammatical relations.

He argues that only those noun classes that are identified in classifier languages will figure in the selectional restrictions of non-classifier languages such as English and German. He observes that the different selectional restrictions for otherwise synonymous verbs are often signalled in German by derivational prefixes on otherwise identical stems, rather than by varying the lexical stem itself. In English, by contrast, such differences in selectional restrictions are more often expressed by changing the lexical stem itself, and as we have seen English will regularly not impose the relevant selectional restriction where German must draw the distinction in question.


CHAPTER III: Word order freedom
1. Clause-internal illustration






Starting point: it is often observed that word order in German is freer than in English.

 Syntactic rules: ○ Clause-internal bounded movement  Dative – accusative shift (Eng.)  Adverb movements  Subject hopping (Ger.) ○ The relatively greater freedom of these movements in German does NOT extend to rules crossing clause boundaries, and hence we need to restrict our claim about the greater word order freedom of German to clauseinternal movements only.

German has movement rules effecting word order rearrangements which are without parallel in English E.g. Subject Hopping: subject hops to the end of the sentence Zu Weihnachten gab Peter dem Bruder das Buch Zu Weihnachten gab dem Bruder Peter das Buch. Zu Weihnachten gab dem Bruder das Buch PETER

 24 possible relative orderings of the four constituents, i.e. Peter, zu Weihnachten, dem Bruder and das Buch  Results: ○ With the appropriate contrastive stress on the German sentences, all 24 were judged grammatical ○ Without the assistance of contrastive stress, some eight of the 24 were judged ungrammatical, with 16 exhibiting varying degrees of grammaticality.  English translations: only 9 were considered as grammatically correct.  Dutch translations: only 12 were considered as grammatically correct. Dutch is more like English than like German.

English SVX

Dutch SVX

German SVX



X V (X) S

Subject Hopping

S is positionally attracted to the left periphery.


Where there are similar movement processes, they apply more productively in German than in English E.g. Verb-Second Only if you are rich will I … If you are rich, I will … Nur wenn du reich bist, werde ich … Wenn du reich bist, werde ich …

1. Causes and Consequences of the Word Order Freedom Contrasts
• It is plausible to argue that the case system of German is responsible for the greater clause-internal word order freedom of that language . Across languages the existence of rich surface case marking typically correlates with word order freedom of the kind we have seen in German. The reason most commonly advanced for this is that ‘fixed’ word order at the sentence level in a language like English encodes grammatical relations such as subject, DO and IO, which are morphologically encoded in a case-marked language.  Supported by the facts of Dutch; Dutch (like English) suffered case syncretism and both languages exhibit similar word order options. • The insight has been expressed as the ‘principle of covariation of functional equivalents’. = ‘syntactic (and morphological) processes which have the same ‘function’ covary in their distribution across languages. By covary we mean that the more a language has one of the processes the less it need have the other. By ‘having the same function’ we mean something like ‘code the same semantic or syntactic information’.’ (Keenan)  Sapir’s drift theory linking case syncretism to the fixing of basic word order is completely in accordance with Keenan’s principle. • It can be argued that English and other SVO languages impose more constituency groupings at the sentence level, such as the VP node, than do languages like German which permit considerable sentence-level word order freedom. Configurationality: word order freedom SVO Critical comment: constraints on the VP Dutch is not S V O, still more or less the same constraints  V2: finite verb second




The relative rigidity of word order in Modern English has an interesting consequence for the relationship between form and meaning. Languages whose morphology makes possible the kinds of word order permutations that we have seen in German can use these options for pragmatic purposes. Now, assuming that such pragmatic differences exist, it follows that the more fixed word orders of English are correspondingly more ambiguous with respect to these pragmatic functions. I.e. many pragmatic distinctions which receive their own syntactic encoding in German and Russian etc., don’t receive distinctive encoding in English and one and the same syntactic form of English ranges over pragmatic differences in meaning which can be disambiguated in these languages.

 Critical comment: English does have syntactic strategies for these kinds of pragmatic effects. ○ “Cleft construction”: E.g. It is Maxim who defends Viktor The one that defends Viktor is Maxim. ○ “Pseudo-cleft construction”: E.g. Who defends Viktor is Maxim

 But, these also exist in German so the general point about the vagueness of English still stands. • The pragmatic word order principle is discussed in terms of the distinctions between Theme and Rheme. – Given = Theme – New = Rheme. The more fixed word orders of English frequently lead to a reversal of this pragmatic principle, and hence to the kind of pragmatic ambiguity in syntactic structure that we saw in the English S V O structures.  Critical comments: ○ The terms Theme and Rheme are not well-defined. ○ There appears to be other pragmatic functions performed by word order variants which have been lumped together under a simplifying ThemeRheme rubric. The more fixed word orders of a language like English are correspondingly more ambiguous (or vague) in surface structure syntax with respect to these functions, compared to German and the Slavic languages.


Slavic Pragmatics Theme before Rheme German Syntax – Semantics: Unmarked/basic order e.g. IO before DO Pragmatics: Marked order OK only if Theme before Rheme


1. Case syncretism and verb position
Case syncretism has also been argued to explain the new basic verb position of English, S V O, which is matched by verb-final and verb-second structures in German. • • Claim 1: case syncretism leads to fixed word order Claim 2: case syncretism leads to fixed SVO-structures

 Critical note: There is a dependence: claim 1 follows from claim 2.  Claim 2 needs additional argumentation (Sapir (1921)): I.e. the verb acts as an anchor, with the two most frequent and important grammatical relations fixed in their position relative to it.

Subject Old English – German V2 or S O V +Nom.

Object +Acc.

Present Day English SVO •

left of V

right of V

The situation is complicated. – On the one hand, we have Greenberg’s statistical universal. (‘If in a language the verb follows both the nominal subject and nominal object as the dominant order, the language almost always has a case system.’). This is equivalent to saying that that if a language does not have a surface case system, it will (almost always) not have SOV order and hence the loss of a case system historically can be used to explain ○ The loss of SOV structures in the history of English and; ○ The resulting contrasts with Modern German


On the other hand, Greenberg’s universal is statistical only: Ijo is an example of an SOV and non-case-marked language.  Both the loss of case and the word order change took a long time

CHAPTER IV: Basic grammatical relations and their semantic diversity
1. Some basic data
• The class of subjects and direct objects, it can be argued, is larger in English than it is in German. Numerous NP’s which surface as subject or object in English cannot do so in German. Once again, the case system appears to be at the root of this content – Direct objects: only the accusative can become a subject of a passive construction. – Dative is not a subject ○ No nominative ○ No equi- NP deletion: a rule of transformational grammar that deletes the underlying subject of a complement clause if it is coreferential with the subject or object of the main clause, as in John promised to return the money, where the underlying subject (John) of return has been deleted. Also called equi.

No agreement

Nominative EQUI Agreement •

Coding Behavioural Behavioural =subject properties

Comparing English and German, we can conclude: – That German dative- marked NP’s should not be regarded as direct objects, and that accusatives NP’s only should be equated with direct objecthood – That the class of direct objects in English is larger than in German, since it comprises both the accusative-marked and dative-marked NP’s of German – That rules such as passive (NP preposing) which are sensitive to direct objecthood apply in a greater number of environments in English than in German to create derived subjects (which can then undergo rules sensitive to subjecthood


English Direct object Derived Subject

German Accusative / Direct object Dative Derived Subject

 The experiencer in these 1- or 2-place constructions is represented by a +Dat. or by an +Acc. in German, whereas English regularly employs a (nominative) subject.


What about Dutch? It is in between

English Dutch Dutch


bigger smaller Size set Dir Obj Size set Der Subj He was helped. *Er wurde geholfen. The parents were written *Die Eltern wurden einen Brief a letter. geschrieben. Size set Dir Subj *Me is warm. Mir ist warm.

Curme: ‘the accusative denotes the direct object or thing affected or produced, and the dative the indirect object, the person or thing to whose advantage or disadvantage the action accrues.’

 It is clear that semantic distinctions are operative here and that German is systematically excluding certain semantic roles from being mapped onto the (accusative) direct object relation with the predicate in question. By contrast, English regularly collapses the semantic roles of both accusative- and dativetaking verbs into a common grammatical entity, direct object and into a common surface form.

1. More on subjects
The subject-forming possibilities of German are in general a proper subset of those in English, since non-agentive semantic roles in German frequently resist being mapped onto subjects where this is possible in English. Both in terms of grammaticality and in terms of frequency, therefore, the subject-forming possibilities of non-agentive arguments in English are greater than those of German.

2. Theoretical preliminaries
Not to be studied


3. The grammatical relations generalisation
Not to be studied


4. Causes and consequences of the contrasts in semantic diversity
• • Hawkins argues that the loss of the cases is ultimately responsible for the greater semantic diversity of basic grammatical relations in English. The simplest grammatical reanalysis in the wake of case syncretism would treat identically marked NPs as the same entity from the point of view of grammatical rules, and this is what has happened. The class of subjects and direct objects expands in Middle English and subject- and direct object-referring rules apply to larger classes of NP’s than before. The expansion of subjects- and direct objectforming possibilities then has consequences for the semantics: the semantic diversity or range of these grammatical relations becomes larger. E.g. the conversion impersonal to personal constructions in Middle English

 No longer connected to case syncretism = DRIFT. But why? • Kirkwood (1978) offers a plausible speculation for why the set of English subjects should have increased beyond the set predicted by case syncretism alone. His argument rests on the following two simple and indisputable facts: – Modern English has more fixed S V O word order than it used to; – and yet there are certain very general pragmatic principles of word order rearrangement (e.g.: Theme before Rheme) which seem to be present to some extent at least in all languages.

 Result: form of conflict: the syntactic rules force fixed word order, pragmatic principles favour word order rearrangements in accordance with the information structure of a whole discourse.  Conflict resolved by permitting more types of NP’s to actually be subjects and hence to occupy immediately preverbial position

Syntax Pragmatics

SVO Theme Rheme before

Solution provided by Kirkwood (1978)


Semantic of S



 What about Dutch? In between!

English Case Syncretism Word order fixation S V O fixation Semantic expansion of S Makes historical sense too! • Distinction between CODING and BEHAVIOUR: YES YES YES YES


German NO NO NO NO

Morphology Nominative Subject Unmarked

Syntax EQUI REFL Raising


 German and English are at the opposite poles of a historical drift for which other Germanic languages (including earlier English itself) provide intermediate stages. The morphological coding of subjecthood in German is in one-to-one correspondence with the syntactic notion of subject defined behaviourally. In earlier English the class of such syntactic subjects expands and there is then a temporary mismatch with surface coding, until surface cases are brought back into realignment with the syntactic notion.  There are also different types of behaviour. Or the implication is just premature or wrong. First behaviour, then coding or at the same time is possible too. So 2) is ruled out, not first coding and then behaviour. First it behaves as a subject, then it’s dressed up as a subject.  Moreover, notice that the period of mismatch between morphology and syntax in the history of English (i.e. the dative subject period) is not very long-lasting. Throughout the Germanic languages as a whole, the periods of correspondence between morphology and syntax are much more protracted than those of noncorrespondence.  There’s a pattern emerging: English morphemes were argued to be systematically broader in semantic range; basic sentence patterns of English were argued to be ambiguous with respect to pragmatic distinctions that can explicitly drawn in German. And now to basic grammatical relations of English have been shown to have a systematically greater semantic range than their German counterparts. In all three cases, English is packing more meanings into common surface forms in both morphology and syntax, with corresponding greater ambiguity. • Recapitulation

Nominal Inflection Pronouns Verbal Semantics WO rigidity SVO Der Subj2-place Der Subj3-place Basic Subject

English English English English English English English English


German German Dutch German German Dutch German German Dutch Dutch German German Dutch




CHAPTER V: Raising structures
1. Contrastive summary
a. What is raising? • Subject to subject raising: the subject of the subclause becomes subject of the main clause. English allows some 60 verbs to do S-S Raising. Germen presents apparent S-S Raising in surface structure only for scheinen and for a handful of other triggers which are exactly properly included in the corresponding English class. Dutch a few.  Complications: epistemic modals – no difference between German, English or Dutch. E.g. It so happened that John was ill. John happened to be ill. But not: *It so ceased that John was ill. John ceased to be ill. • Subject to object raising: the subject of the subclause becomes the object of the main clause and the finite verb form becomes a non-finite verb form. English allows some 60 verbs to do S-O Raising. German none. Dutch a few. E.g. I believe that John is ill. I believe John to be ill.

Object to subject raising: the object of the subclause becomes the subject of the main clause. Critical comment: Maybe S-O Raising is something else! – There’s a semantic relation between V and S too. Related to passivization. – English and Dutch are similar concerning 2-place derived subjects too.  Also called ‘Tough movement’ E.g. It is easy to convince John. John is easy to convince.

English How many? Many

Dutch Many DO + Prep. Unbounded

German 5 DO Bounded

Which Object? DO + Prep. Locality? Unbounded


S to S S to O O to S

English English English Dutch

Dutch Dutch

German German German

1. The semantic interpretation of Raising structures
German and English are, in general, equally rich in EQUI structures, but German is clearly resistant to raising. • Intermediate conclusions – D like E expansion of O→S Raising – D like G no expansion with to/te/zu – D unique expansion with om te – D like G om te is like um zu What about prepositional object raising? E.g. English: ‘The machine is easy to work with.’ Dutch: ‘De machine is gemakkelijk om mee te werken’ German: ‚*Das Gerät ist leicht mit zu arbeiten‘

 Bounded or unbounded? E.g. English: ‘This book is easy for me to force Charles to read.’ Dutch: ‘*Dit boek is gemakkelijk voor mij om Karel te dwingen lezen.’ German: ‚*Dieses Buch ist leicht für mich Karl zu lesen zu zwingen.‘  D like E D like G • Conclusion prepositional objects boundedness


1. Causes and consequences of the contrasts in Raising structures
• Why does German differ from English? – English subjects are generally semantically more diverse E.g. This tent sleeps four. – • Clause-external ‘movement’ is generally more reproductive

English is more vague than German. In German, there’s a less structural ambiguity.

1. NP-V to VP

S to S Raising EQUI

John ceased to be ill. John wanted to be ill. I believe John to be ill. I persuaded John to be ill.

2. NP-V-NP to VP

S to O Raising EQUI


3. NP-be-Adj. to VP

S to S Raising Tough EQUI

John is certain to please. John is easy to please. John is eager to please.

 This is reminiscent of the greater ambiguity of SU-V and SU-V-O structures in English, which also involve greater semantic diversity for basic grammatical relations.  What is meant by ‘ambiguity’? When a NP-V-NP-to-VP can be mapped onto more than one predicate type in semantic representation.

1. A note on the Subject-to-Object Raising Dispute
How a cross-linguistic analysis can help language-specific analysis. E.g. Is John in I believe John to be ill the object of believe or not?

 If John is just a normal subject, it remains unclear why German should not allow it. Also not clear why English does allow it.


CHAPTER VI: Extractions
1. Contrastive summary
• • Extractions: WH-movement

Unbounded movement rules such as Relative Clause Formation etc apply in more environments in English than in German. In fact, it will be argued that the contrastive situation is as precise as in the raising examples: wherever German can extract, so can English, but not vice versa.  Why unbounded? Because things can move over intermediate clauses. • The English and German extraction data between them enable us to set up a hierarchy of increasing extraction difficulty. a. General regularities • Extraction out of an infinitival object complement of a 2-place predicate is always straightforward in both languages. E.g. The man who I have tried to kill was your friend. Der Mann, den ich zu töten versucht habe, war dein Freund. Extraction out of an infinitival object complement of a 3-place predicate is always possible in English. The corresponding German extractions are typically good. But when the sentence is slightly more complex, German native speaker judgments begin to be uncertain. E.g. Who has he requested you to marry? Wen hat er dich gebeten zu heiraten? Extractions out of finite object complements are possible in English, but typically impossible in German. E.g. I don’t know who the police thought that the guilty man was. * Ich weiβ nicht, wer die Polizei glaubte, daβ der Schuldige sei. Extractions out of non-strictly subcategorised infinitival phrases are completely impossible in German, but possible in English, though English native speakers begin to experience unease at this point. E.g. What did he come to order to pick up? * Was ist er gekommen, um abzuholen? Extractions out of non-strictly subcategorised finite clauses (clauses who can only be surrounded by certain words) are impossible in both languages. E.g. * Which film did you go to the movies, even though you didn’t want to see? * Welchen Film bist du ins Kino gegangen, obwohl du nicht sehen wolltest?


a. Problem Two dimensions • • Internal morphology: infinite vs. Finite External morphology: role of clause in higher clause

German Infinit > Finite e Obj 2-place Obj 3-place Non-obj subj Subj + + non- ?/-

English Infinit > e Obj 2-place Obj 3-place Non-obj subj Subj + + non- ? / Finite + + -

Dutch Infinit > Finite e Obj 2-place Obj 3-place + + + ?/37

Non-obj subj Subj

non- -



1. The Argument Trespassing Generalisation
• The effect of WH-movement is similar to that of Raising in an important respect: even though the rules of Relative Clause Formation, Question Formation, etc., do not create derived grammatical relations, they still move an NP (WHelement) into a clause in which it cannot be interpreted as an argument of the higher predicate of S. The descriptive regularity which unites both bounded and unbounded clauseexternal movements is one of ‘argument trespassing’. In all these contrasting structures, the moved NP is situated in a surface clause in which it contracts no semantic relation with its immediate predicate (and in which it did not originate in more remote syntactic structures.

1. Pied piping
• VP Pied Piping E.g. Der Mann, den ich zu töten versucht habe. Der Mann, den zu töten ich versucht habe. *The man whom to kill I have tried. *De man wie te vermoorden ik heb geprobeerd.  Possible in German, not in English.  Notice that the effect of VP Pied Piping is to keep the VP ‘den zu töten’ intact as a constituent in surface structure, by fronting the whole thing. As a result, the immediate predicate of ‘den’ remains ‘töten’, the verb with which it contracts a semantic relation. • PP Pied Piping E.g. * Die Frau, der ich ins Kino mit ging. Die Frau, mit der ich ins Kino ging. The woman, who I went to the movies with. The woman, with whom I went to the movies. De vrouw, waar ik naar de bioscoop mee ging. De vrouw, met wie ik naar de bioscoop ging.

 German must use a pied piped structure, whereas English may or may not


NP Pied Piping E.g. * die Frau, deren ich Tochter kenne. Die Frau, deren Tochter ich kenne. *The woman, whose I know daughter. The woman, whose daughter I know. *De vrouw , van wie ik ken de dochter. De vrouw, wiens dochter ik ken.  Pied Piping is obligatory in both languages. • The grammar of German, which is in general resistant to argument trespassing, chooses to make the application of VP Pied Piping obligatory precisely in more complex structures where argument-predicate matching is that much more of a problem.

German Dutch English VP Pied Piping +/PP Pied Piping + NP Pied Piping +  Dutch is the same as English! +/+/+/+/-

1. Causes and Consequences of the Extraction and Pied Piping Contrasts
Not to be studied


CHAPTER VII: Deletions
When a movement rule applies, the moved constituent is interpreted as the filler of the gap. But such gaps can also arise in surface structures for which no movement analysis would be postulated in the Standard Theory. Generally a deletion rule will be proposed. Given that English is more tolerant of gaps resulting from movement it is likely to assume that the number of such deletions is much greater is English than in German. Nonetheless, the two classes of deletion and movement structures are distinct, so that a contrastive relationship that obtains for the one could in principle not obtain for the other. • Conjunction-reduction E.g. Fred saw and thanked the king. *Fritz sah und dankte dem König. Fred zag en bedankte de koning. Fred saw and greeted the king. Fritz sah und begrüßte den König. Fred zag en begroette de koning. He is the father and the friend of the boy. *Fritz ist der Vater von und der Freund von dem Jungen. Hij is de vader en de vriend van de jongen.  Possible in English and Dutch, sometimes possible in German

Ø rather than anaphoric pro E.g. I know that … but he doesn’t. Ich weiß, dass … aber er weiß es nicht Ik weet the, maar hij weet het niet.  Possible in English, but not in German and Dutch. • Absence of agent E.g. This tent sleeps four. In diesem Zelt schläft man zu vier. In deze tent kunnen vier mensen slapen.  Possible in English, but not in German and Dutch • Ø instead of reflexive E.g. The door opens. Die Tür öffnet sich. De deur opent.  Possible in English and Dutch, but not in German


Ø relative E.g. The woman I love is coming tonight. Die Frau, die ich liebe, kommt heute abend. E vrouw die ik liefheb, komt vanavond.  Possible in English, but not in German and Dutch. • Ø instead of Prep Pron E.g. I am convinced that … Ich bin davon überzeugt, dass Ik ben ervan overtuigd, dat

English 1. Conjunction reduction - NP + 2. Ø rather than anaphoric + pro 3. Absence of Agent 4. Ø instead of reflexive 5. Ø relative + + +

Dutch + + -

German +/-

6. Ø instead of Prep Pron +  Dutch is more like German than like English.


CHAPTER VIII: The unity of English/German contrasts: a realignment in the mapping between form and meaning
Contrastive typology: summary

German More grammatical morphology More specific selectional restrictions More word order freedom Less semantic diversity of GRs Less raising More pied piping Less deletion (of NPs) Self-study

English Less grammatical morphology Less specific selectional restrictions Less word order freedom More semantic diversity of GRs More raising Less pied piping More deletion (of NPs)


CHAPTER IX: Verb-final order in German
1. Verb-final structures in German
a. German • • • In tensed subordinate clauses, both finite and non-finite forms are final. E.g. Ich glaube, dass Heinrich die Frau liebt In non-tensed subordinate clauses the non-finite forms are final E.g. Ich freue mich darauf, abends in der Wirtschaft Bier zu trinken. In main clauses non-finite verb forms are again final, but the finite verb stands either in second position or in first position. E.g. Mein Vater ist vor einigen Tagen nach London gefahren. (2-place) Kann ich abends in der Wirtschaft Bier trinken? (1-place) German main clauses frequently end in a verbal satellite of various kinds, a satellite which originated within the verbal complex in clause-final position. E.g. Der König schlug der Feigling tot. In subordinate clauses (and in main clauses with auxiliaries and modals) satellite and verb join together in final position. E.g. Wilhelm versuchte den ganzen Nachmittag mitzuspielen. a. English and Dutch in comparison to German • Subclauses – German O Vnf Vf – – English Dutch Vf Vnf O O Vnf Vf  Verbal material at the end = German O Vf Vnf  Verbal order = English

Main clauses – German Vf-2 O Vnf – English Vf Vnf O

1. Contrastive summary and some consequences
• • V-final / OV in Old English, not in Present- Day English. Present- Day English has VO, more particularly SVO. German : V2 and V-final – basically syntax

○ Main clauses: verb-second and verb-first constructions ○ Subclauses: verb-final but semantic exploitation a. Case 1: Complementation and Periphrasis

b. Case 2: Echo Sentences • • Dutch is like German Whether this is the right explanation or not, the important point is again that it is German rather than English which is maintaining a clean division between main and subordinate clause types, and which is exploiting this division for the expression of pragmatic differences in meaning which are not carried in English. E.g. Wie heiβt den dein Bruder? Wie dein Bruder heiβt?

 If the question is not understood by the hearer, the speaker will normally repeat it using subordinate clause word order. Thereby saying in effect ‘this was the question I asked you just before’. Verb opposition is the only surface marker of main verses subordinate clause status: there is no higher verb separated from the embedded proposition by comma intonation; and the complementiser wie is identical in both cases.  English translations are only grammatically correct with verb-second and verbfirst orders.

CHAPTER X: Leaking behind the verb in German
a. “Leaking” • Extraposition: German can place a constituent in the rightmost position in the clause, thereby removing the verb from its final position. The constituent moved may be an S or (in spoken German especially) a Prepositional Phrase or Adverb. The transformation moving S is generally identified with the term ‘extraposition’. Exbraciation: – As for the leaking of PPs and Advs, Bierwisch proposes that only those PPs and Advs which are not strictly subcategorised with respect to their verbs can leak. Instead of ‘leaking’ the term ‘exbraciation’ is often used in this context. – Putting something outside the ‘sentence braces’ a. Types of clauses • • Main clause: Vf ... Vnf E.g. Wellicht heb ik het boek gisteren aan Jan gegeven. Subclause: conjunction ... V E.g. Hij zegt dat ik het boek gisteren aan Jan gegeven heb.

a. Which constituents are easier to move to the right? • It is easier to extract out of the complement of a two-place predicate than a three-place predicate, whereas a three-place predicate complement is more readily extraposable into rightmost position. (10.1a) Similarly infinitival complements, which are less heavy than finite complements, are easier to extract out of, but more difficult to extrapose(10.1b) And a strictly subcategorized clause is easier to extract out of than a nonstrictly subcategorized clause, whereas this latter is more readily extraposable. (10.1d) The one case of disagreement between the two hierarchies is (10.1c): a nonsubject complement is easier to extract from than a subject complement, and is also more readily extraposable into rightmost position. (OBL is any object except DO)

• •



1. Extraposition
• Extraposition of a subject clause in one-, two- and three-place predicate constructions is regularly optional in German, both when the clause is a tensed subordinate clause containing a verb and with zu + infinitive clauses. E.g. Dass er seinen Hund erschossen hat hat uns alle überrascht  Es hat uns alle überrascht, dass er seinen Hund erschossen hat. Abends in der Wirtschaft Bier zu trinken hat uns gefallen. Es hat uns gefallen, abends in der Wirtschaft Bier zu trinken.

For extraposition of DO complements we need to distinguish between DO within a two- and three-place predicate construction, and between different degrees of heaviness of the complement. – With a two-place predicate, extraposition is ○ obligatory for tensed clauses. E.g. *Er hatte dass er nicht lange leben würde gewusst. Er hasse gewusst, dass er nicht lange leben würde. ○ But optional for infinitival clauses with zu E.g. Er hatte die Frau zu gewinnen gehofft. Er hatte gehofft, die Frau zu gewinnen.

With a three-place predicate ○ a DO complement must again be extraposed if it is a tensed clause E.g. *Ich werde meinem Sohn dass er morgen den späteren Zug nehmen soll empfehlen. Ich werde meinem Sohn empfehlen, dass er morgen den späteren Zug nehmen soll. ○ but also if it is zu + infinitive clause containing surface arguments of the infinitive E.g. *Ich werde meinem Sohn morgen den späteren Zug zu nehmen empfehlen. Ich werde meinem Sohn empfehlen, morgen den späteren Zug zu nehmen.

If the complement is an oblique constituent (OBL) within a three-place predicate construction, the same situation obtains as in the extraposition of DO complements in a three-place predicate construction. – Obligatory for tensed clauses E.g. *Er hat mich dass ich seinen Bruder zum Bahnhof fahre gebeten. Er hat mich (darum) gebeten, dass ich seinen Bruder zum Bahnhof fahre. – Obligatory for zu + infinitive clauses with surface argument E.g. *Er hat mich seinen Bruder zum Bahnhof zu fahren gebeten.

Er hat mich (darum( gebeten, seinen Bruder zum Bahnhof zu fahren. – Optional for zu + infinitive alone E.g. Er hat mich zu arbeiten gebeten. Er hat mich (darum) gebeten, zu arbeiten.


Conclusion: this distribution of obligatory and optional applications is completely in accordance with the hierarchies mentioned before. – 3-place predicates: more obligatory applications than 2-place predicate constructions – 2-place predicates: more obligatory applications than 1-place predicate constructions

1. Postverbal movement of constituent other than the subject
As Lockwood points out, PPs are quite frequently found to the right of the verb in spoken German and such connections also creep in the literary language. E.g. Ich erzähle dir gleich, was ich bei Müllers gehört habe. Ich erzähle dir gleich, was ich gehört habe bei Müllers. Ik vertel je dadelijk wat ik bij de Müllers gehoord heb. Ik vertel je dadelijk wat ik gehoord heb bij de Müllers.

PPs are also found to the right of the participle constituents of complex verbs. E.g. Man setzte die Urlauber in einem Boot über.

Man setzte die Urlauber über in einem Boot. Men zette de vakantiegangers in een boot over. Men zette de vakantiegangers over in een boot.  Dutch is quite similar to German.

1. Extraposition from NP
This rule, like its English counterpart, moves the S of a complex NP into rightmost position within its clause and hence to the right of finite and non-finite verb forms in German. E.g. Der Bauer hat die Kuh, die schlechte Milch gab, geslachtet.  „Self-embedded“ in the higher relative clause. grammatical in contrast to self-embeddings in English. Der Bauer hat die Kuh geschlachtet die schlachte Milch gab. *The farmer had the cow which bad milk gave, slaughtered. The farmer has slaughtered the cow which gave bad milk. De boer heeft de koe die slechte melk gaf, geslacht. De boer heeft de koe geslacht die slechte melk gaf.  English has got only 1 choice; Dutch and German have multiple choices. Perfectly

1. Rightward movement in English
The moved constituent originates in subject position. E.g. That he shot his dog, surprised us all. It surprised us all that he shot his dog. Dat hij zijn hond doodschoot, verraste ons allemaal. Het verraste ons allemaal dat hij zijn hond doodschoot. For extraposed constituents originating in DO or OBL position there has to be a nonnull material to their right in the input sentence in order for the effects of extraposing to be actually visible in surface structure. E.g. I recommended that Mary see a doctor to the teacher who was so concerned.

I recommended to the teacher who was so concerned that Mary see a doctor. So: • First  Dutch is like English: S V OE  but not quite ○ English: S Vf Vnf O ○ Dutch: S Vf O Vnf OE ○ German: S Vf O Vnf OE • Now: English is

S Vf Vnf O X


S Vf Vnf X OE

1. Contrastive summary
• We have seen than English and German can have very similar clause-final constituents, both as a result of sharing similar rightward-moving rules like Extraposition from NP, and as a result of English base-generating clause-final constituents which would be derived by rightward movement in German. Yet, because of the basic final position of the verb in German, German rightwardmoving rules can apply non-vacuously in numerous environments which are without parallel in English, creating (when application is optional) pre-verbal and post-verbal doublets for which there is only one translation equivalent in English. If the extraposed constituent originates in subject position, both languages will share clearly unextraposed and extraposed structures. But when the extraposed constituent originates in non-subject position, i.e. to the right of the verb in English, English will, in the absence of other constituents to the right in the input structure, show no sight of Extraposition ever having taken place. Hence, corresponding German doublets, English has only one translation equivalent.

• •

2 causal factors – VO constructions/ languages: early V facilitates integration of arguments. – OV constructions/languages: arguments determine meaning of verb  If extraposition, then non-rigid OV



CHAPTER XI: Verb-second structures in German and English
= finite verb-second structures • • X Vf S … Xnf S Vf Vnf … X S Vf Vnf  Normal Sentences: V2 in both English and German  When X1  V3 in English and V2 in German German: English:

1. Verb-second in German
• It does in general seems to be the case that what is topicalised to the front of the sentence must be a single constituent. And in Bierwisch’s grammar, the finite verb is then moved from its underlying final position into second position, behind the initial constituent, by a rule which we shall refer to as ‘Verb-Second’. PPs and Advs can be topicalised, both those which are non-strictly subcategorized with respect to the main verb and those which are strictly subcategorised. E.g. Möglicherweise hat er uns vergessen. Mogelijk is hij ons vergeten. In München haben wir viel Bier getrunken. In München hebben we veel bier gedronken. • NPs of all cases can be topicalised, including nominative-marked subjects. E.g. Den Hund sieht die Katze „De hond ziet de kat“  De kat ziet de hond.  Not ambiguous in German, but ambiguous in Dutch and English. • An embedded VP can be topicalised E.g. Das Auto zu reparieren, hat er uns versucht. *De auto te repareren, heeft hij ons gevraagd.  Not possible in Dutch  This same process of VP-topicalisation will also front infinitives and participles alone. E.g. Gewinnen müssen wir. Winnen moeten we  contrastive stress! • More examples in book a. Conclusion Dutch is a little bit less verb-second than German


1. Verb-second in English
The Modern English verb-second structures are clear historical relics of an earlier more productive verb-second pattern, similar to that of German. There are in fact several verb-second rules in the modern language. Each incorporates numerous idiosyncrasies and applies in highly specialized environments. The result of this declining productivity in English, coupled with the invariable regularity of verb-second order in German main clauses, is that the set of structures produced by the verb-second rules of English appears to be exactly a proper subset of the verb-second structures of German. For every verb-second structure in English, there is a corresponding verb-second structure in German, but not vice versa.

a. Subtype 1: subject-auxiliary inversion Three environments: • • • WH + Vf + S NEG + Vf + S So + Vf + S – However, so preceding an adverbial or adjective is less productive than the other cases.

a. Subtype 2: Subject- simple verb inversion Two environments • • Directional adverb + Vf + S Quote + Vf + S

a. Subtype 3: Inversion after Locative Phrase Preposing Locative + Vf + S  But: actually the whole VP is inversed, so: LOCATIVE + VP + S • • Inversions apply on root sentences only in English and are triggered by a single preposed constituent without any comma intonation break. Postverbal subject pronouns are ungrammatical. As with subject-simple verb inversion, inversion after locative phrase preposing is impossible if a DO is present.

a. Subtype 4: Comparative Substitution This rule inverts comparative predicate adjective whose heads are compared by means of more, less, least and as, with the subject NP.

 The whole VP is inverted!

a. Subtype 5: Participle Preposing E.g. Our top reporter is speaking to the President now. Speaking to the President now is our top reporter. When we say that all English verb-second structures have corresponding verb-second structures in German, but not vice versa, we therefore mean: when there are identical verb forms in the two languages, any postposing of the subject and preposing of an initial constituent that is possible in English will be possible in German, but not vice versa; but where the verbal forms of the two languages differ, no claim is made.

1. Contrastive summary
The rules generating the structures of Modern English are clearly the fragmented remains of the verb-second rule of early Germanic., which Modern German now applies so exceptionlessly in root clauses.  But also an innovation! V2 become VP2 in some cases ○ Locative phrase VP inversion ○ Comparative VP inversion  Makes sense: English wants the two parts of the verb together.

1. Verb-third in English
• The verb-second structures of German that are without verb-second counterparts in English are generally matched by verb-third structures, a structure with no counterpart in German. Sentences with preposed sentence adverbs are verb-third in English and verbsecond in German. However, there are genuine differences between English and German with respect to the preposing possibilities for locative adverbs. The literal translation of the German is ungrammatical in English both as a verb-second and as a verbthird structure. E.g. In München wohnt der Mann. *In Munich lives the man * In Munich the man lives. English has verb-third structures for frequency adverbs E.g. Zweimal in der Woche ist sie gekommen. Twice a week she came.

• •


Manner adverbs are restricted in their preposing possibilities. E.g. Schön singt die Sängerin. *Beautifully singst the singer. *Beautifully the singer sings.


Four cases where topicalised constituents in German have either no counterpart or a less productive counterpart in English – Fronted locative adverb – Fronted manner adverb – Fronted so + Adj/Adv – Fronted VP

1. Causes and consequences of the verb-second contrasts
• The impossibility of topicalisation of the earlier mentioned cases is a further example of the relative lack of word order in English compared with German.

• Why should English have expanded verb-third at the expense of verb-second?  The reduction in English verb-second structures can in no way be an automatic or necessary consequence of the innovation of base SVO., in the same way that the eliminations of verb-final structures is thereby explained.  “reduction of V2 does not automatically follow from VO fixation” ○ A language can be VO and have serious V2 E.g. Older English, and PD Scandinavian Swedish Jag har läst boken. I have read the book Jag tror att jag har läst boken. I believe that Igår har jag läst boken. Yesterday  AND YET! Reduction of V2 does follow (but not automatically) from SVO fixation ○ SVO is the most frequent realization ov XV … (V2) topicalization ○ XSVO strengthens SVO ○ English V2 is typically X Aux SVO ○ X in English XV … is typically not the object

As a result, the sentence types of Modern English which cannot have the verb in second position cannot be used for the overt expression of the relevant functions; and, assuming that these functions were also characteristic of earlier stages of the language, the progressive elimination of verb-second structures means the elimination of the explicit expression of these pragmatic functions and their collapsing into the common SVO mould.


CHAPTER XII: Verb-first structures in English and German
1. Verb-first in English
• • • • Polar questions: S- Aux Inversion Imperatives, both positive and negative Exclamations: S- Aux Inversion Conditional clauses a. Comparison of verb-first and verb-second in English Read

1. Verb-first in German
• • • • • Polar questions – What about Dutch? Same Imperatives – What about Dutch? Same Exclamations – What about Dutch? Same Counterfactuals and conditionals – What about Dutch? Same Stylistic inversion – What about Dutch? Same Dutch seems to be like German

1. Contrastive summary
Historically, English verb-first movement has therefore been on the decline. The environments that trigger it, have been less radically reduced than have those for verb-second structures. But whereas the verb-second structures retain some subject inversions with main verbs, verb-first movements are defined exclusively on auxiliaries or modals.


2. Causes and consequences of the Verb-First contrasts
• We can regard the fixing of SVO word order as the major motivation for the reduced productivity of English verb-first structures.  English V1 is (Aux)(S)V(O) E.g. Have you bought a car? Aux S V O (You) hit it! Don’t (you) hit it! S V O Aux S V O

Did we ever laugh! Aux S V Should he finish it first, we will … Aux S V O • It is striking that most of the reductions in verb-first structures involve the classes of verbs moved and that the environments for verb-first movement are still very similar in the two languages. This contrasts with verb-second rules, whose triggering environments en English are considerably reduced compared with their German counterparts. The most productive English verb-first environment is that of yes-no questions. All auxiliaries and modals can front, and because of do-support, English can always produce a verb-first question corresponding to the fronted non-auxiliary verbs of German.

 True, but Aux SVO • • • Imperative verb-first movements: <understood S> VO Exclamations and counterfactuals/conditional clauses: productivity between yes-no questions and imperatives. intermediate in

The consequence of all these reductions in productivity is that canonical SVO word order takes over from verb-first. Yes-no questions are still productively verb-first, but all the ungrammatical inversions in the other environments are now rendered as S (Aux) V (O) structures.


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful