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Clause Structure and Word Order in the History of German$
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Agnes Jäger, Gisella Ferraresi, and Helmut Weiß

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198813545

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198813545.001.0001

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The prefield after the Old High German period

The prefield after the Old High German period

(p.64) 5 The prefield after the Old High German period
Clause Structure and Word Order in the History of German

Augustin Speyer

Helmut Weiß

Oxford University Press

The filling of the prefield in Modern German is determined by information-structural constraints such as scene-setting, contrastiveness, and topichood. While OHG does not yet show competition between these constraints, competition arises from MHG onward. This has to do with the generalization of the V2 constraint (i.e. the one-constituent property of the prefield) for declarative clauses, in which context the information-structural constraints are loosened. The syntactic change whose result eventually was the loss of multiple XP fronting comprised a change of the feature endowment of C because the fronting of expletive thô (roughly in the OHG of the ninth century) led to the reanalysis of XP fronting as a semantically vacuous movement whose only function is to check the EPP feature of C. Data from doubly filled prefields in ENHG and post-initial connectives indicate that an articulated split CP-structure, as proposed within the cartographic approach, is also at play in German.

Keywords:   cartographic approach, split CP, one-constituent property, scene-setting, topic, expletive, contrastive, connectives

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