Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0929-7332
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9919


The difference in West-Germanic V(erb)-clusters, right-branching (Dutch) and left-branching (German), follows from a difference in the acquisition of V-second. The decisive factor is a rightward selection of the <+Aux> verbs in Dutch main clauses. That decisive factor had already been acquired before any V-cluster appeared in the child’s speech. Longitudinal Dutch child data show that modals and aspectuals develop a rightward selection that carries over into the V-cluster. The German child data do not show such a development. Automatic phrasal formation by the acquisition procedure allows a V-cluster without assuming V-to-V-movement from an underlying structure. The general perspective is that (i) the acquisition procedure is a discovery procedure, and that (ii) typological effects are the outcome of early local string-determined licensing/selection.


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