Where is the precore slot? Mapping the layered structure of the clause and German sentence topology

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The paper will account for the regularities of word order with German main declarative clauses by using the RRG framework. The question whether the so-called “Vorfeld” (“prefield”)-position can be equated with the RRG-notion of precore slot (PrCS) will be explored. It will be shown that operator scope with the different readings of modal verbs indicates that the position before the finite verb should be regarded as core-external position. Furthermore, a structural analysis will be introduced that reveals that certain peculiarities of German word order can be captured most extensively when a precore slot is included in the syntactic description. With such an analysis, a structural explanation of pragmatically motivated word order alternations can be given for “VP-topicalization” and “<i>tun</i>-periphrasis”.


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