|As was mentioned in |
[C ob ] mein Freund dem Mann gestern das Buch [V gegeben ] [I hat ] whether my friend the.dat man yesterday the.acc book given has 'whether my friend gave the man the book yesterday'
[C ob ] mein Freund [I hat ] dem Mann gestern das Buch [V gegeben ]
[C ob ] mein Freund [I hat ] [V gegeben ] dem Mann gestern das Buch
A very striking fact about German is that whereas finite verbs are final in subordinate clauses, this is not true in main clauses. This is clear from the position of the finite verb in a direct question like (2).
Hat mein Freund dem Mann gestern das Buch gegeben? has my friend the.dat man yesterday the.acc book given 'Did my friend give the man the book yesterday?'
Mein Freund dem Mann gestern das Buch gegeben hat?
Asyndetic conditional clauses. The first piece of evidence comes from the existence in German of two types of conditional clauses. In addition to conditional clauses introduced by the overt complementizer wenn 'if', German also allows asyndetic conditional clauses. These are marked not by the presence of an overt complementizer, but by the position of the finite verb. Both types of conditional clauses are illustrated in (3).1
wenn mein Freund dem Mann gestern das Buch gegeben hätte if my friend the.dat man yesterday the.acc book given had.conditional 'if my friend had given the man the book yesterday'
hätte mein Freund dem Mann gestern das Buch gegeben had.conditional my friend the.dat man yesterday the.acc book given 'had my friend given the man the book yesterday'
The finite verb in (3b) occupies exactly the same clause-initial position as the complementizer in (3a), suggesting that the verb has moved to C. The complementizer and the finite verb in (3) can be seen, then, as competing for the same syntactic slot. If this is so, then conditional clauses with both a complementizer and a clause-initial verb should be ungrammatical. This in indeed the case, as shown in (4).
Position of object pronouns. The second piece of evidence for verb movement to C comes from the position of object pronouns. In addition to the variability that German exhibits in the position of finite verbs, it allows a fair bit of word order freedom, and object pronouns regularly occur between complementizers and the subject, as shown in (5).
wenn ihm mein Freund gestern das Buch gegeben hätte if him.dat my friend yesterday the.acc book given had 'if my friend had given him the book yesterday'
As expected if asyndetic conditional clauses like (3) involve verb movement to C, object pronouns can immediately follow the finite verb, as shown in (6), just as they immediately follow the complementizer in (5).
hätte ihm mein Freund gestern das Buch gegeben had him.dat my friend yesterday the.acc book given 'if my friend had given him the book yesterday'
The idea that non-clause-final finite verbs in German move to C is
further corroborated by the distribution of object pronouns in direct
questions. As in English (recall
Hati mein Freund dem Mann gestern das Buch gegeben ti? has my friend the.dat man yesterday the.acc book given 'Did my friend give the man the book yesterday?'
Wasi hatj mein Freund dem Mann gestern ti gegeben tj? what.acc has my friend the.dat man yesterday given 'What did my friend give the man yesterday?'
Wanni hatj mein Freund dem Mann ti das Buch gegeben tj? when has my friend the.dat man the.acc book given 'When did my friend give the man the book?'
Wemi hatj mein Freund ti gestern das Buch gegeben tj? who.dat has my friend yesterday the.acc book given 'Who did my friend give the book to yesterday?'
Weri hatj dem Mann ti gestern das Buch gegeben tj? who.nom has the.dat man yesterday the.acc book given 'Who gave the man the book yesterday?'
Again, as expected, object pronouns can immediately follow the finite verb, as shown in (9) and (10).
Hati ihm mein Freund gestern das Buch gegeben ti? has him.dat my friend yesterday the.acc book given 'Did my friend give him the book yesterday?'
Wasi hatj ihm mein Freund gestern ti gegeben tj? what.acc has him.dat my friend yesterday given 'What did my friend give him yesterday?'
Wanni hatj ihm mein Freund ti das Buch gegeben tj? when has him.dat my friend the.acc book given 'When did my friend give him the book?'
|'My friend gave the man the book yesterday.'|
|b.||Gesterni||hatj||mein Freund dem Mann ti das Buch gegeben tj.|
|c.||Dem Manni||hatj||mein Freund ti gestern das Buch gegeben tj.|
|d.||Mein Freundi||hatj||ti dem Mann gestern das Buch gegeben tj.|
As expected, unstressed pronouns can immediately follow the finite verb in declarative main clauses, just as in the corresponding wh-questions.
|'My friend gave him the book yesterday.'|
|b.||Gesterni||hatj||ihm||mein Freund ti das Buch gegeben tj.|
It is worth noting that German allows Spec(CP) to be filled not only by movement, but also by direct substitution of the morpheme es 'it'. This yields sentences as in (14).
|'My friend gave the man the book yesterday.'|
Thus, in addition to the subject requirement that it shares with English, German has an additional topic requirement. In both cases, the requirement is purely syntactic. In other words, if the requirement is not satisfied by a semantically contentful element, it must be satisfied by an expletive element (it or there in connection with the English subject requirement, and es 'it' in the case of the German topic requirement).
The analysis of German clause structure that we have just presented has two striking consequences. First, ordinary declarative clauses differ structurally from wh-questions in English, but not in German. In English, ordinary declarative clauses are IPs and wh-questions are CPs, whereas in German, both clause types are CPs. In other words, even though the German sentence in (15) and its English translation in (16) exhibit the same superficial word order, they do not share the same structure, as indicated by the bracketing.
|(15)||[CP||Dein||Freundi||[C||wirdj ]||ti||anrufen||tj. ]|
|'Your friend will call.'|
|(16)||[IP||Your||friend||[I||will ]||call. ]|
A second consequence of the analysis is that the finite verb in a German main clause is always its second constituent. It cannot appear in third position because there is no structural slot to the left of Spec(CP) for a constituent to occupy. This is illustrated by the grammaticality contrast between (17) and (18).
|(17)||a.||[CP||Dein Freundi||[C||wirdj ]||ti||morgen||anrufen||tj. ]|
|'Your friend will call tomorrow.'|
|b.||[CP||Morgeni||[C||wirdj ]||dein Freund ti anrufen tj. ]|
|'Tomorrow, your friend will call.'|
|(18)||a.||*||Morgeni||[CP||dein Freundj||[C||wirdk ]||ti tj anrufen tk. ]|
|b.||*||Dein Freundi||[CP||morgenj||[C||wirdk ]||ti tj anrufen tk. ]|
Contrasts as in (17) and (18) are subsumed under the label of verb-second (V2) phenomenon, and German (and other languages that resemble it with regard to these contrasts) are referred to as V2 languages.
It is important to understand that the term V2 refers to a structural requirement, not to the default word order of a language. So even though English verbs and modals ordinarily occupy second position in their clause, English is not a V2 language in the sense just described. The reason is that an English verb or auxiliary can occupy second position, but doesn't necessarily. For instance, if the clause-initial constituent is not the subject, the verb or auxiliary in English occupies third position (with some exceptions to be discussed directly). This is illustrated in (19). Note particularly the grammaticality contrasts between (19b) and (17b) and between (19c) and (18a).
|b.||*||Tomorrow||will||your friend call.|
There is good reason to believe that V2 in Old and Middle English was a more complex phenomenon than in any of the other V2 languages. In particular, there is evidence that Old English (7001150) exhibited not just one, but two types of V2. The first type was derived by verb movement to C, as just discussed for German, and it characterized direct questions, imperatives, certain clauses with negative force, and clauses introduced by certain adverbs. These clause types turn out to be exactly the ones in which modern English has preserved verb movement to C, as we will see later on in the chapter. The second type of V2, which was obligatory in ordinary declarative clauses, was structurally distinct (it involved verb movement to a head lower than C), and it was also superficially less transparent (sentences containing unstressed pronouns were apparently able to violate the V2 requirement). The analysis of this second type of V2 is beyond the scope of an introductory textbook; for discussion, the reader is referred to Pintzuk 1991, 1993. It is this second type of V2 that was lost in the history of English.2
In Middle English (11501500), evidence has recently been found of two syntactic dialects with respect to V2 (Kroch and Taylor 1997), characteristic of the south and north of England. The southern dialect basically maintained the Old English distinction between two types of V2: one for ordinary declarative clauses and one for special clause types like questions and so on. In the northern dialect, on the other hand, which was influenced by Scandinavian, all V2 clauses were uniformly derived by verb movement to C. In other words, the two dialects differed in whether V2 in ordinary declarative clauses involved verb movement to C. As just noted, the complexity of the Old English V2 pattern and its direct continuation in southern Middle English made it less transparent than the V-to-C type, and it has been proposed that speakers of the northern dialect misanalyzed southern V2 declaratives as non-V2 (Kroch, Taylor, and Ringe 2000). The desire to accommodate to the supposedly non-V2 southern pattern would then have led the northern speakers to produce clauses that were truly non-V2 (that is, non-V2 for both dialects). This development in turn might have brought about the loss of V2 in ordinary declarative clauses that is attested during the Middle English period and that resulted in the non-V2 character of ordinary declarative clauses in modern English.
In what follows, we give some examples of V2 clauses in Middle English
and modern English. The examples from both time periods illustrate the
transparent type of V2 discussed in the first part of this chapter, which
involved verb movement to C, rather than the opaque type that was
additionally possible in Old English and southern Middle English.
Middle English encompasses the period from about 1150-1500. In
contrast to Old English, Middle English, especially its later stages, is
reasonably comprehensible to speakers of the modern language, and it seems
like the 'same' language as modern English (whereas Old English feels at
least as foreign as German).
(20) gives some examples of V2 declarative clauses from The
travels of Sir John Mandeville, a bestselling travel book from the
1300s; the examples are taken from Mossé 1968, a convenient compendium
of Middle English texts. (The constituent in Spec(CP) is in boldface,
and the finite verb is in italics; the numbers after the examples
indicate the page number in Mossé.)
V2 in Middle English
Middle English encompasses the period from about 1150-1500. In contrast to Old English, Middle English, especially its later stages, is reasonably comprehensible to speakers of the modern language, and it seems like the 'same' language as modern English (whereas Old English feels at least as foreign as German).
(20) gives some examples of V2 declarative clauses from The travels of Sir John Mandeville, a bestselling travel book from the 1300s; the examples are taken from Mossé 1968, a convenient compendium of Middle English texts. (The constituent in Spec(CP) is in boldface, and the finite verb is in italics; the numbers after the examples indicate the page number in Mossé.)
|+t stands for the special Middle English character
'thorn', which corresponds to modern voiceless th (as in
thorn). +g stands for a character called 'yogh', which
has no exact counterpart in the modern language; it was pronounced /y/.
Notice the doubly marked indirect question in (20b).
|(20)||a.||+tanne wolde he make hem to drynken of a certeyn drynk. (279)|
|'Then he would make them drink of a certain drink.'|
|b.||After that +git scholde he putten hem in a fayrere paradys where +tat +tei scholde see God. (279)|
|'Yet after that he would put them in a more beautiful paradise where they would see God.'|
|c.||+tan wolde he schewe hem his entent. (279)|
|'Then he would show them his intent.'|
|d.||+tere scholde +tei dwellen with the most fairest damyselles +tat myghte be, and pley with hem everemore. (279)|
|'There they would dwell with the fairest damsels that there might be and play with them for ever more.'|
(21) gives some further examples from the Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. 1340-ca. 1400). Again, the first number after each example refers to the page in Mossé; the second number refers to the verse.
|(21)||a.||Wel koude he rede a lessoun or a storie. (303, 709)|
|'He could read a lesson or a story well.'|
|b.||This tresor hath Fortune unto us yeven. (307, 779)|
|'This treasure, Fortune has given us.'|
|c.||Thy profit wol I telle thee anon. (308, 809)|
|'I will tell you right away what's in it for you.'|
|d.||Thanne shal al this gold departed be, my deere frend, bitwixen me and thee. (309, 831-832)|
|'Then all this gold will be divided up, my dear friend, between me and you.'|
|e.||Thanne may we bothe oure lustes all fulfille. (309, 833)|
|'Then both of us can fulfill all our desires.'|
|f.||Into the blisse of hevene shul ye gon. (311, 912).|
|'You will enter the bliss of heaven.'|
Modern English is no longer a full-fledged V2 language in the sense
that it exhibits the V2 phenomenon in ordinary declarative clauses.
However, in syntactic contexts in which the verb moved to C in Old
English, C is still required to dominate a modal or form of do
support in the modern language. For instance, as we mentioned in
|(23)||They are proud of their grandson, and so are we.|
The verbal syntax of imperatives in modern English is too complex to discuss in an introductory textbook. However, it is clear that the auxiliary moves to C in negative imperatives, as is evident from the obligatory inversion of the subject and auxiliary do in (24).
|(24)||a.||Don't you dare!|
|b.||*||You don't dare! (ungrammatical as an imperative)|
Finally, sentences that begin with a non-subject negative phrase, as in (25), require a modal or form of do in second rather than third position, as shown by the contrast between the (i) and (ii) examples.
|(25)||a.||i.||Never in my life have I seen such a mess.|
|ii.||*||Never in my life, I have seen such a mess.|
|b.||i.||Under no circumstances will I agree.|
|ii.||*||Under no circumstances, I will agree.|
|c.||i.||Not a single ally has he encountered in all that time.|
|ii.||*||Not a single ally, he has encountered in all that time.|
V2 in modern English is also triggered by only-phrases, as illustrated in (26).
|(26)||a.||i.||Only in Brazil have I seen such orchids.|
|ii.||*||Only in Brazil, I have seen such orchids.|
|b.||i.||Only a single ally has he encountered in all that time.|
|ii.||*||Only a single ally, he has encountered in all that time.|
|c.||i.||Only under exceptional circumstances will I agree.|
|ii.||*||Only under exceptional circumstances, I will agree.|
Clearly, this is related to the fact that only sentences can be paraphrased as illustrated for (26a) in (27).
|(27)||Nowhere but in Brazil have I seen such orchids.|
It is worth noting that some speakers tend to avoid using the (i) examples in (25) and (26) in favor of the ordinary subject-initial word order in (28) and (29).
|(28)||a.||I have never in my life seen such a mess.|
|b.||I will agree under no circumstances.|
|c.||He has encountered not a single ally in all that time.|
|(29)||a.||I have seen such orchids only in Brazil.|
|b.||He has encountered only a single ally in all that time.|
|c.||I will agree only under exceptional circumstances.|
If this tendency were to become more pronounced over time, the (i) examples in (25) and (26) would eventually die out in usage. In the absence of positive evidence that clause-initial negative phrases license V2, children learning English would then presumably acquire a grammar that generates the currently ungrammatical (ii) examples.
1. As the translation of
(3b) shows, English, too, allows asyndetic conditional clauses.
2. In addition to the remnants of
the transparent German/Scandinavian/northern type of V2 that are
discussed in the remainder of the section, modern English continues to
retain vestiges of the complex southern V2 pattern in sentences such as
2. In addition to the remnants of the transparent German/Scandinavian/northern type of V2 that are discussed in the remainder of the section, modern English continues to retain vestiges of the complex southern V2 pattern in sentences such as (i).
|(i)||a.||There comes/goes the bus. (V2 with full noun phrase subject)|
|b.||There it comes/goes. (non-V2 with pronominal subject)|
|(1)||a.||I will call if I am not busy.|
|b.||If I am not busy, I will call.|
|(2)||a.||I will call should I not be busy.|
|b.|| ||Should I not be busy, I will call.|
Mein Onkel hat bei seinen Nachbarn dreimal aus der Schweiz angerufen. my uncle has at his neighbors three.times from the Switzerland called 'My uncle called his neighbors three times from Switzerland.'
B. Given what you know about Universal Grammar and the grammar of German, are the sentences in (2) expected to be grammatical? Explain.
|(2)||a.||Angerufen hat mein Onkel aus der Schweiz dreimal.|
|b.||Aus der Schweiz hat mein Onkel dreimal angerufen.|
|c.||Dreimal aus der Schweiz hat mein Onkel bei seinen Nachbarn angerufen.|
|(1)||a.||i.||Never in John's life has he seen such a mess.|
|ii.||Only in Brazil has he seen such orchids.|
|b.||i.||Under no circumstances will she agree.|
|ii.||Only under those circumstances will she agree.|
|c.||i.||Not a single ally have they encountered.|
|ii.||Only a single ally have they encountered.|
|(1)||a.||A vernycle hadde he sowed upon his cappe.
(Mossé 1968:303, 685)
'He had sewn a vernicle on his cap.'
|b.||Wel koude he rede a storie.
(Mossé 1968:303, 709)
'He could read a story well.'
|c.||This tresor hath Fortune unto us yeven.
(Mossé 1968:307, 779)
'Fortune has given this treasure to us.'
|(1)||and God created man after his lycknesse; after the lycknesse of god created he him.|
|(1)||a.||ok||Why are they making such a fuss?|
|b.||*||Why they are making such a fuss?|
|(2)||a.||*||How come are they making such a fuss?|
|b.||ok||How come they are making such a fuss?|
B. Based on the data in (3), how would you characterize the difference between direct questions in African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and in Standard English?
|(3)||a.||Why you didn't tell me that? |
(overheard at the Salvation Army store, 22nd and Market, September 26, 1998)
|b.||What you bought tickets for? |
(overheard at 30th Street Station, November 26, 1998)
|c.||Where you was at? |
(overheard at Rittenhouse Square, July 20, 2001)
|d.||Where you went? |
(overheard at the corner of Chestnut and 36th Street, August 13, 2001)
|e.||What I told you? |
(Willie Perdomo. From where a nickel cost a dime. Real News. April 2002. 28.)
C. How does the verbal syntax of the archaicizing advertisement for B. Altman in (4) differ from your own verbal syntax, and how doesn't it?
|The two instances of be are an archaic verb form called the subjunctive. In the modern language, the subjunctive has largely been replaced by the indicative (in this case, is).|
|(4)||What care I how chic it be if it not be the best for me?
(Kim Johnson Gross and Jeff Stone. 1998. Women's wardrobe. Chic simple. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.)
|(1)||Thys rememberede thei nevyr to doo.|
|(2)||a.||They never remembered to do this.|
|b.||They remembered never to do this.|
Using the all purpose grammar tool, build the two relevant structures for (1), indicating clearly which structure is intended to represent which interpretation.
|For simplicity, assume that never modifies the same syntactic
category in both interpretations.
Assume further that remember has belonged to the same verb class throughout the entire history of English.