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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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Object pronoun fronting and the nature of Verb Second in early English

Object pronoun fronting and the nature of Verb Second in early English

(p.396) 17 Object pronoun fronting and the nature of Verb Second in early English
Rethinking Verb Second

Eric Haeberli

Susan Pintzuk

Ann Taylor

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the nature of the V2 syntax of early English, with an empirical focus on Object Pronoun Fronting. It is claimed that early English, which exhibits both V2 and V3 orders, is similar to a true V2 language like German with respect to XP-fronting: both require one EPP-feature in the CP-domain; and if the presence of an EPP-feature is not motivated by an active interpretive feature, an EPP-feature is inserted and gives rise to Formal Movement (FM). What distinguishes early English from true V2 languages is that in the latter, there cannot be more than one EPP-feature, while in early English, there can be more than one. This difference in the number of EPP-features is related to a difference in verb placement within the CP-domain. Finally, some consequences of this analysis for the diachronic developments in the Middle English period are explored.

Keywords:   V2, early English, Middle English, Object Pronoun Fronting, Formal Movement

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