Logo Utrecht University

Syntax Interface Lectures Utrecht

Agenda

8 October 2018
16:00 - 17:00
Room 0.19 (A.W. De Grootkamer), Trans 10

Heimir van der Feest Viðarsson (The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies / University of Iceland)

Violating V2 with two heads (or more): evidence from a polycephalous variety of insular Scandinavian

Multi-headedness is a well-established feature of Icelandic in the literature on verb raising to the (split) inflectional domain (Bobaljik and Thráinsson 1998, Bobaljik 2002, Thráinsson 2010, 2011, Angantýsson 2007, 2011). Since the 1980s, scholars have tried to argue for a causal relationship between the richness of inflectional morphology and the IP/TP-internal structural position of the finite verb, recently defended for the Indo-European languages by Koeneman and Zeijlstra (2014) and by Tvica (2017) for languages beyond IE. In this paper I review some of the problems that arise for the Rich Agreement Hypothesis in the context of Icelandic from a broad, historical perspective. I focus on variation in verb raising in relation to embedded clause structure, in particular the root vs. non-root distinction among different types of declaratives (Hooper and Thompson 1973, Meinunger 2004, Julien 2008) and adverbial clauses (Haegeman 2012, Frey 2012), and the consequences thereof for the analysis of the left periphery of the subclause. It will be shown that Icelandic provides some evidence for a richly articulated functional sequence (along the lines of Rizzi 2004, Haegeman 2012, Rizzi and Cinque 2016) and may contradict the RAH by not conforming to traditional “V-to-I” diagnostics. This, in turn, leads to a violation of the V2 constraint, arguably in more than one way. More specifically, there is evidence that root-like environments, i.e. subclauses allowing main clause phenomena, have a stronger disposition for V2 than non-root environments, and vice versa. The literature partly acknowledges this with regard to relative clauses and certain adverbial clauses but hitherto not with regard to declaratives. A word of caution is in order here, as den Besten (1977:3) asserted when he claimed that “mere data never decide a theoretical debate”; some of the arguments laid out in this paper are indeed theory-internal and do not necessarily all hold if the shorthand labels CP, IP-TP, VP are treated as atomic.

References

Angantýsson, Ásgrímur. 2007. Verb-third in embedded clauses in Icelandic. Studia Linguistica 61:237–260.

Angantýsson, Ásgrímur. 2011. The syntax of embedded clauses in Icelandic and related languages. Reykjavík: Hugvísindastofnun Háskóla Íslands.

den Besten, Hans. 1977. On the Interaction of Root Transformations and Lexical Deletive Rules. Instituut voor Algemene Taalwetenschap/University of Amsterdam.

Bobaljik, Jonathan David. 2002. Realizing Germanic Inflection: Why Morphology Does Not Drive Syntax. Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 6:129–167.

Bobaljik, Jonathan David, and Höskuldur Thráinsson. 1998. Two Heads Aren’t Always Better Than One. Syntax 1:37–71.

Frey, Werner. 2012. On two types of adverbial clauses allowing root-phenomena. In Main clause phenomena: New horizons, ed. Lobke Aelbrecht, Liliane Haegeman, and Rachel Nye, 405–429. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Haegeman, Liliane. 2012. Adverbial Clauses, Main Clause Phenomena, and the Composition of the Left Periphery: The Cartography of Syntactic Structures, Volume 8. Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

Hooper, Joan B., and Sandra A. Thompson. 1973. On the Applicability of Root Transformations. Linguistic Inquiry 4:465–497.

Julien, Marit. 2008. Så vanleg at det kan ikkje avfeiast: om V2 i innføydde setningar. In Språk i Oslo. Ny forskning omkring talespråk, ed. Janne Bondi Johannessen and Kristin Hagen, 159–171. Oslo: Novus Forlag. URL http://lup.lub.lu.se/record/1272595.

Koeneman, Olaf, and Hedde Zeijlstra. 2014. The Rich Agreement Hypothesis Rehabilitated. Linguistic Inquiry 45:571–615.

Meinunger, André. 2004. Verb position, verbal mood and the anchoring (potential) of sentences. In The syntax and semantics of the left periphery, ed. Horst Lohnstein and Susanne Trissler, 313–341. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Rizzi, Luigi. 2004. On the Cartography of Syntactic Structures. In The Structure of CP and IP: The Cartography of Syntactic Structures, ed. Luigi Rizzi, volume 2 of Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax, 3–15. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

Rizzi, Luigi, and Guglielmo Cinque. 2016. Functional Categories and Syntactic Theory. Annual Review of Linguistics 2:139–163.

Thráinsson, Höskuldur. 2010. Predictable and unpredictable sources of variable verb and adverb placement in Scandinavian. Lingua 120:1062–1088.

Thráinsson, Höskuldur. 2011. Icelandic A, B, C, D …? Or: How Long is the Icelandic Alphabet? A paper presented at the Annual Meeting of DGfS (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft), 25th February, Göttingen.

Tvica, Seid. 2017. Agreement and verb movement: The rich agreement hypothesis from a typological perspective. Utrecht: LOT Puclications.