Linguistics and English Language

Meaning and grammar seminar

Speakers: Øystein Vangsnes & Maud Westendorp (UiT The Arctic University of Norway)

Speaker: Øystein A. Vangsnes

Title: COMP trace effects across North Germanic varieties

Abstract: Different varieties of North Germanic allow a left peripheral element to immediately precede the trace of an embedded wh-subject that has been moved to the matrix left periphery. Across North Germanic we find varieties that allow the insertion of the declarative complementizer at similar to English, but there are also varieties in which we instead encounter relative markers. In varieties of Norwegian the complementizer som may precede the trace of the wh-subject. Faroese is another case where a subgroup of speakers allow the insertion of the relative marker ið. Danish and Western Jutlandic represent yet another case in that the item der/dæ ‘there’ may appear in the corresponding structure, an element which is otherwise also used as a marker of subject relatives as well as functioning as an expletive.

Speaker: Maud Westendorp (joint work with Björn Lundquist)

Title: Embedded V2 in Faroese and Mainland Scandinavian: results from a production study

Abstract: The loss of V-to-I movement in Mainland Scandinavian, and with it generalized V2 in embedded clauses, is a well-studied phenomenon. The MSc languages typically have the embedded finite verb to the right of negation and sentence-medial adverbs in contrast to Icelandic. However, MSc still allows for embedded V2, though only in cases where the complement is (or could be) assertive (Wiklund et al. 2007). Faroese has been argued to be at a very late stage of losing V-to-I and has been shown to pattern with Danish with respect to the grammaticality of verb movement above negation in embedded clauses (Heycock 2010, 2012). Judgement data nevertheless show that the option of V-to-I movement persist in speaker’s grammars, but this claim has not been tested with online measures.

In this talk I present data from a large scale elicited production study conducted on the Faroe Islands, as well as in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, investigating the possibilities for Verb > Adverb order across various types of embedded clauses. We find surprisingly few instances of embedded V2 in Mainland Scandinavian, contrary to what is claimed in earlier corpus research. Faroese is shown to be developing a system similar to that of MSc: it no longer applies V-to-I movement across the board, and we find effects of clause type and type of adverb. Furthermore, we find a main effect of age in Faroese. Older speakers make a clear distinction between bridge verbs and non-bridge verbs/embedded questions while younger speakers are similar to speakers of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian where EV2 is less frequent and the type of embedding verb is not a factor.


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Oct 15 2019 -

Meaning and grammar seminar

2019-10-15: Øystein Vangsnes & Maud Westendorp (UiT The Arctic University of Norway)

Room S37, Psychology Building, 7 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JZ