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On the historical core of V2 in Germanic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 December 2003

Eric Fuss
University of Frankfurt, Institut für deutsche Sprache und Literatur II, Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Grüneburgplatz 1, 60629 Frankfurt, Germany. E-mail:
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This paper focuses on the origin of the V2 property in the history of Germanic. Considering data from Gothic and Old English (OE), it is suggested that the historical core of the V2 phenomenon reduces to V-to-C movement that is triggered in operator contexts. Therefore, the historical system shares basic properties with limited V2 in Modern English. It is shown that apparent deviations from this pattern that can be observed in Gothic can be attributed to the influence of Greek word order. Concerning the apparently more elaborate V2 properties of OE, it is claimed that a large part of them in fact do not involve a Spec-head relation, but rather result from linear adjacency between the clause-initial element and a finite verb located in T0. Special attention is paid to the placement of pronominal subjects in OE, which are claimed to occupy SpecTP. This contrasts with a lower position of full subjects due to the absence of an EPP in OE. Finally, the loss of superficial V2 orders in the Middle English period is attributed to the development of an EPP feature in T.

Research Article
© 2003 Cambridge University Press

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