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Rethinking Verb Second$
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Rebecca Woods and Sam Wolfe

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198844303

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198844303.001.0001

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The distribution of embedded Verb Second and Verb Third in modern Icelandic

The distribution of embedded Verb Second and Verb Third in modern Icelandic

(p.240) 10 The distribution of embedded Verb Second and Verb Third in modern Icelandic
Rethinking Verb Second

Ásgrímur Angantýsson

Oxford University Press

The aim of this chapter is to give a comprehensive and current overview of the key empirical facts regarding embedded V2 and V3 in Icelandic and to compare this to what has been shown for other Scandinavian varieties. It is shown that Icelandic is a robust symmetric V2-language, meaning that it exhibits V2 as the default word order in both matrix and subordinate clauses. In general, preposing is easier in matrix clauses than in subordinate clauses, with the exception of Stylistic Fronting (SF), which is more easily applicable in embedded contexts. It turns out that Icelandic is not as different from the other Scandinavian languages as is sometimes assumed in the literature, and also that there is considerable age-related variation with respect to embedded V2/V3 and related constructions within Icelandic. The fact that younger speakers of Icelandic do not accept embedded topicalization and SF as much as older speakers could be interpreted as an ongoing change in Icelandic. However, it must be taken into account that these constructions are more common in the written language and in a formal style of speech. If the results regarding V3 in Icelandic are taken to indicate an ongoing change, then there are two changes that must be recognized: in relative clauses the conditions for V3 are reminiscent of the conditions for Topicalization and SF (less accepted by younger people), while in complement-clauses V3 is more accepted by younger people than older (innovation).

Keywords:   embedded topicalization, Icelandic, Stylistic Fronting, V2, V3, preposing, age-related variation

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