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Encyclopedia > V2 word order

Verb-second (V2) word order, in syntax, is the effect that in some languages the second constituent of declarative main clauses is always a verb, while this is not necessarily the case in other types of clauses. Syntax, originating from the Greek words συν (syn, meaning co- or together) and τάξις (táxis, meaning sequence, order, arrangement), can in linguistics be described as the study of the rules, or patterned relations that govern the way the words in a sentence come together. ... This article needs to be wikified. ...

Contents


V2 effect

The V2 effect is clearly demonstrated in the following Dutch sentences:

Ik las gisteren dit boek.
I read yesterday this book
"Yesterday I read this book."
Gisteren las ik dit boek.
yesterday read I this book
"Yesterday I read this book."
Dit boek las ik gisteren.
this book read I yesterday
"Yesterday I read this book."

It may seem that the verb is in the third position in the last sentence, but it is the second constituent; the first constituent is "dit boek" (this book).


Note the contrast with the following embedded clauses:

Het boek, dat ik gisteren las
the book, that I yesterday read
"The book I read yesterday"
Ik zei dat ik gisteren dit boek las
I said that I yesterday this book read
"I said I read this book yesterday."

Similar examples can be given for German.


The usual analysis of the Dutch (and German) V2 phenomenon is that the "normal" position of the verb is at the end of the clause (SOV) and that in main clauses, the inflected verb moves to the second position. This is supported by the fact that in sentences with verb clusters, only the auxiliary appears in the second position: In linguistic typology, Subject Object Verb (SOV) is the type of languages in which the subject, object, and verb of a sentence appear (usually) in that order. ... Inflection or inflexion refers to a modification or marking of a word (or more precisely lexeme) so that it reflects grammatical (i. ... In linguistics, an auxiliary or helping verb is a verb whose function it is to give further semantic information about the main or full verb which follows it. ...

Ik heb dit boek gelezen.
I have this book read
"I've read this book."
Ik heb dit boek willen lezen.
I have this book want read
"I've wanted to read this book."
Ik heb dit boek willen kunnen lezen.
I have this book want can read
"I've wanted to be able to read this book."

In German these phrases have different word order for the auxiliaries, that closely resemble the SOV word order (auxiliaries following the main verb.) Presented below for contrast with the Dutch above.

Ich habe dieses Buch gelesen.
I have this book read
"I've read this book."
Ich habe dieses Buch lesen wollen.
I have this book read want
"I've wanted to read this book."
Ich habe dieses Buch lesen können wollen.
I have this book read can want
"I've wanted to be able to read this book."

Classification

V2 word order is primarily associated with Germanic languages, English being a notable exception. (French, a Romance language had a V2 stage, and Kashmiri currently does.) Other verbs are placed in the position dictated by the prevailing word order of the language: in otherwise SVO languages, such as Swedish and Icelandic, the verb is placed after the subject but before the object; in otherwise SOV languages, such as German and Dutch, the verb is placed after the object. The Germanic languages form one of the branches of the Indo-European (IE) language family. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The Romance languages, also called Romanic languages, are a subfamily of the Italic languages, specifically the descendants of the Vulgar Latin dialects spoken by the common people evolving in different areas after the break-up of the Roman Empire. ... For other uses, see Kashmiri (disambiguation) Kashmiri is a Dardic language spoken primarily in Kashmir, an Asian region now split between India, Pakistan and China. ... In linguistic typology, subject-verb-object (SVO) is the sequence subject verb object in neutral expressions: Sam ate oranges. ... In linguistic typology, Subject Object Verb (SOV) is the type of languages in which the subject, object, and verb of a sentence appear (usually) in that order. ...


In addition, there are two prime distinctions of V2 languages. The CP-V2 languages such as Swedish and German only allow the movement in main clauses. On the other hand, the IP-V2 languages such as Icelandic and Yiddish require movement in subclauses too. (The CP and IP refer to a particular theory of grammar in which there is a position known as the complementiser, to which the verb moves in CP-V2 languages. Finding it already occupied by the complementiser pronoun 'that' in subclauses, movement is prohibited. On the other hand, in IP languages, a position known as I is found directly after the C position, which is never occupied (except after V2 movement) and thus movement is allowed in subclauses. Although this theory is explained with reference to a particular theory, the difference between Swedish and German grammar on the one hand and Icelandic and Yiddish grammar on the other is real, and the terms 'CP-V2' and 'IP-V2' are used even by those who do not subscribe to the theory.) Yiddish (ייִדיש, Jiddisch) is a Germanic language spoken by about four million Jews throughout the world. ...


An earlier stage of English was V2, and some vestiges of its former structure have remained: fixed phrases such as 'so am I' and productive structures like 'I didn't go and neither did he', with the verb before the subject ('I' and 'he', respectively). It has been argued that older English word order was of the SVO, IP-V2 sort, and it is easy to see how such an order can with little change develop into a simple SVO language as is Modern English today.


Examples

CP-V2, SOV

ex. German, Dutch, examples in both, Dutch being the first examples.

  • I read this book yesterday.
Ik las dit boek gisteren.
Ich las dieses Buch gestern.
  • Yesterday read I this book.
Gisteren las ik dit boek.
Gestern las ich dieses Buch.
  • I said that I this book yesterday read.
Ik zei dat ik dit boek gisteren las.
Ich sagte, dass ich dieses Buch gestern las.
  • I said that I yesterday this book read.
Ik zei dat ik gisteren dit boek las.
Ich sagte, dass ich gestern dieses Buch las.

CP-V2, SVO

ex. Swedish

  • I read this book yesterday.
Jag läste den här boken igår.
  • Yesterday read I this book.
Igår läste jag den här boken.
  • You know that I read this book yesterday.
Du vet att jag läste den här boken igår
  • You know that yesterday read I this book.
Du vet att igår läste jag den här boken.

IP-V2, SVO

ex. Icelandic, Yiddish, examples in Yiddish

  • I read this book today.
Ikh leyen dos bukh haynt.
  • Today read I this book.
Haynt leyen ikh dos bukh.
  • You know that I read the book today.
Du veyst, az ikh leyen dos bukh haynt.
  • You know that today read I the book.
Du veyst, az haynt leyen ikh dos bukh.

  Results from FactBites:
 
4 Revising Pintzuk's analysis. (2239 words)
Such subordinate V2 order occurs in clauses where the nominative subject is absent or is licensed to appear in a position other than Spec,IP, as in passive sentences or in sentences with experiencer dative ``subjects.'' In such cases there is often no nominative NP, and agreement on the verb is the default third person singular.
V2 languages are universally defined by a requirement that topics be in a Spec-head relationship with the finite verb.
The possibility of V2 word order in non-CP-recursion subordinate clauses is accommodated, and its limitation to contexts where the subject does not appear in Spec,IP is accounted for.
Word order - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (564 words)
Word order, in linguistic typology, refers to the order in which words appear in sentences across different languages.
German and Dutch are SOV with V2 word order.
However, speaking of a language having a given word order is generally understood as a reference to the basic, unmarked, non-emphatic word order for sentences with constituents expressed by full nouns or noun phrases.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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