Issues in Formal German(ic) Typology

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  • Editors: Werner Abraham1, and Jan-Wouter Zwart2
  • Format: PDF
  • Publication Year: 2002
  • e-Book ISBN 9789027297600

This book takes up a variety of general syntactic topics, which either yield different solutions in German, in particular, or which lead to different conclusions for theory formation. One of the main topics is the fact that languages that allow for extensive scrambling between the two verbal poles, V-2 and V-last, need to integrate discourse functions like thema and rhema into the grammatical description. This is attempted, in terms of Minimalism, thus extending the functional domain. Special attention is given to the asymmetrical scrambling behavior of indefinites vs. definites and their semantic interpretation. Related topics are: Transitive expletive sentences, types of existential sentences with either BE or HAVE, the that-trace phenomenon and its semantics, negative polarity items, ellipsis and gapping, passivization, double negation — all of which have extensive effects both on distributional behavior and semantic disambiguation, reaching far beyond effects observable in English with its rigid, ‘un-scrambable’ word order.

Subjects: Germanic linguistics; Typology; Generative linguistics; Theoretical linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Berkeley; 2: University of Groningen

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