Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1871-1340
  • E-ISSN: 1871-1375
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



An important task of the verb in German is to indicate sentence type. Depending on where the verb is positioned, the clause is a declarative (verb after the first constituent, which can be any constituent), wh-interrogative (verb after the first constituent, being the wh-phrase), yes/no-interrogative (verb in first position, bearing indicative or subjunctive mood) or imperative clause (verb in first position, bearing imperative mood). This system developed out of a system in which sentence type was indicated by clause-final sentence mood particles, as is usual in older Indo-European (and Semitic) languages. In declarative sentences, the verb-second syntax only came about shortly before the Old High German attestation sets in. We can trace the gradual development of the modern German verb-second syntax with variable prefield from a clear topic-comment structure to a more flexible structure.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Axel, Katrin
    (2007) Studies on Old High German Syntax. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: Benjamins. 10.1075/la.112
    https://doi.org/10.1075/la.112 [Google Scholar]
  2. Axel-Tober, Katrin
    (2018) Origins of verb-second in Old High German. InJäger, Agnes, Gisella Ferraresi and Helmut Weiß (eds.), Clause structure and word order in the history of German. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 22–47.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Brandt, Margareta, Marga Reis, Inger Rosengren & Ilse Zimmermann
    (1992) Satztyp, Satzmodus und Illokution. InRosengren, Inger (ed.), Satztyp und Illokution. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1–90.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Chomsky, Noam
    (1986) Barriers. Cambridge, Ma.: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. (1995) The Minimalist Program. Cambridge, Ma.: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. den Besten, Hans
    (1977 [1983]) On the Interaction of Root Transformations and Lexical Deletive Rules. InAbraham, Werner (Hg.), On the formal syntax of the Westgermania. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 47–131.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Duke, E. A.
    (1995) Platon: Platonis opera tomus I tetralogias I-II continens. Oxford. Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Dürscheid, Christa
    (1989) Zur Vorfeldbesetzung in deutschen Verbzweit-Strukturen. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Eggers, Hans
    (1964) Der althochdeutsche Isidor. Nach der Pariser Handschrift und den Monseer Fragmenten. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Elliger, K. & W. Rudolph
    (1990) Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Embick, David & Rolf Noyer
    (2001) Movement Operations after Syntax. Linguistic Inquiry32, 555–595. 10.1162/002438901753373005
    https://doi.org/10.1162/002438901753373005 [Google Scholar]
  12. Grewendorf, Günter
    (2002) Minimalistische Syntax. Tübingen: Francke.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Hinterhölzl, Roland & Svetlana Petrova
    (2010) From V1 to V2 in West Germanic. Lingua120, 315–328. 10.1016/j.lingua.2008.10.007
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2008.10.007 [Google Scholar]
  14. (2011) Rhetorical relations and verb placement in Old High German. InChiarcos, Christian, Berry Claus & Michael Grabski (Hgg.), Salience. Multidisciplinary perspectives on its function in discourse. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 173–201. 10.1515/9783110241020.173
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110241020.173 [Google Scholar]
  15. Isidor of Sevilla
    Isidor of Sevilla (1964) Der althochdeutsche Isidor: nach der Pariser Handschrift und den Monseer Fragmenten. Ed. byHans Eggers. Tübingen: Niemeyer. titus.uni-frankfurt.de/texte/ects/germ/ahd/isidor/isido.htm (accessedJuly 15, 2016)
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Jacobs, Joachim
    (2001) The Dimensions of Topic-Comment. Linguistics, 39: 641–681. 10.1515/ling.2001.027
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.2001.027 [Google Scholar]
  17. Kiparsky, Paul
    (1995) Indo-European origins of Germanic sntax. InBattye, Adrian & Ian Roberts (eds.), Clause structure and language change. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 140–169.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Masser, Achim
    (1994) Tatian: Die lateinisch-althochdeutsche Tatianbilingue Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen Cod.56. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 10.13109/9783666203404
    https://doi.org/10.13109/9783666203404 [Google Scholar]
  19. Önnerfors, Olaf
    (1997) Verb-erst-Deklarativsätze. Grammatik und Pragmatik. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Panhuis, Dirk G. J.
    (1982) The communicative perspective in the sentence. A Study of Latin Word Order. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.11
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.11 [Google Scholar]
  21. Pinkster, Harm
    (1990) Latin Syntax and Semantics. London / New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Prince, Ellen F.
    (1999) .‘How Not to Mark Topics: ‘Topicalization’ in English and Yiddish’. inTexas Linguistics Forum, Austin: University of Texas Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Reinhart, Tanya
    (1982) ‘Pragmatics and Linguistics: An Analysis of Sentence Topics’. Philosophica, 27: 53–94.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Rizzi, Luigi
    (1997) The Fine Structure of the Left Periphery. InHaegeman, Liliane (Hg.): Elements of Grammar. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 281–337. 10.1007/978‑94‑011‑5420‑8_7
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-011-5420-8_7 [Google Scholar]
  25. Shaer, Benjamin & Werner Frey
    (2004) ‘Integrated’ and ‘Non-Integrated’ Left-peripheral Elements in German and English. InShaer, Benjamin, Werner Frey & Claudia Maienborn (Hgg.), Proceedings of the Dislocated Elements Workshop. ZASPiL35(2). Berlin: ZAS, 465–502.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Speyer, Augustin
    (2008) German Vorfeld-filling as Constraint Interaction. InBenz, Anton und Peter Kühnlein (Hgg.) Constraints in Discourse. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: Benjamins, 267–290. 10.1075/pbns.172.13spe
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.172.13spe [Google Scholar]
  27. (2009a) Versuch zur Syntax im Protoindoeuropäischen. InRieken, Elisabeth & Paul Widmer (Hgg.), Pragmatische Kategorien. Form, Funktion und Diachronie. Wiesbaden: Reichert, 287–305.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. (2009b) Das Vorfeldranking und das Vorfeld-es. Linguistische Berichte219, 323–353.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. (2010) Filling the Vorfeld in spoken and written discourse. InTanskanen, Sanna-Kaisa, (Hgg.), Discourses in Interaction. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: Benjamins, 263–290. 10.1075/pbns.203.19spe
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.203.19spe [Google Scholar]
  30. (2019) Topichood and the margins of the German clause from a historical perspective. InMolnár, Valéria, Verner Egland & Susanne Winkler (eds.), Architecture of Topic. Berlin /New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 337–371. 10.1515/9781501504488‑012
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781501504488-012 [Google Scholar]
  31. Speyer, Augustin & Helmut Weiß
    (2018) The prefield after the Old High German period. InJäger, Agnes, Gisella Ferraresi and Helmut Weiß (eds.), Clause structure and word order in the history of German. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 64–81.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Thiersch, Craig
    (1978) Topics in German Syntax. PhD thesis, MIT, Cambridge, Ma.
  33. Watts, W. S.
    (1958) M. Tulli Ciceronis epistulae. Tom.III. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Weber, Robert
    (1983) Vulgata: Biblia sacra iuxta vulgatam versionem. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Wöllstein, Angelika
    (2010) Topologisches Satzmodell. Heidelberg: Winter.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Old High German; prefield; sentence type; verb-second
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error