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Narrow Syntax and Phonological Form

Scrambling in the Germanic languages

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Abstract

‘Scrambling’, the kind of word order variation found in West Germanic languages, has been commonly treated as a phenomenon completely unrelated to North Germanic ‘Object Shift’. This book questions this view and defends a unified analysis on the basis of strictly syntactic and phonological evidence. Given that its main conclusions are drawn from German data, it also sheds light on several problematic aspects of the grammar of this language, which have traditionally resisted a principled account. Prominent among these are: the inconsistent behaviour of German coherent infinitives with respect to extraction of their internal arguments; the existence of a less ‘liberal’ type of ‘Scrambling’ within topicalised VPs; the link between reordering possibilities and headfinalness; the asymmetry exhibited by monotransitive and ditransitive structures with respect to the interaction between ‘Scrambling’ and the unmarked word order, and, finally, certain anomalies in the reordering of the lower arguments of ditransitive predicates that assign inherent case.

Subjects: Theoretical linguistics; Generative linguistics; Germanic linguistics; Syntax

  • Affiliations: 1: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

References

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