The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Linguistics Colloquium 9/16 - Line Mikkelsen

Speaker: Line Mikkelsen – University of California, Berkeley
Title: Verb-second structures: Evidence from Danish VP anaphora
Date: Friday, 9/16
Time: 3:30 PM
Location: 32-141


Most work on verb-second order in Germanic languages assumes that the choice of initial constituent in declarative verb-second clauses is a matter of textual organization which falls outside the domain of syntax. In this talk I give evidence that in at least one Germanic language there are intrasential syntactic principles that restrict what may occupy initial position in declarative verb-second clauses. I further show how these principles bear on one of the central disagreements in the generative literature on Germanic clause structure, namely whether subject-initial verb-second clauses have the same structure as non-subject-initial verb-second clauses. The proposed analysis uses dedicated wh and information-structural features to drive A-bar movement and thereby offers a theoretical counterpoint to recent work arguing against the existence of such features and their involvement in A-bar movement, including Fanselow and Lenertová (2011) and Chomsky (2008).