V2: The German Liberation Movement
Louis-H Desouvrey
March 2021

In this paper I present an analysis of the verb second phenomenon in German. I suggest, along the lines of Desouvrey (2020), that tensed verbs must cliticize to the highest host in order to break free from an inseparable ill-morpheme. They become, thus, live vectors and take their widest scope in the structure. I argue that the ill-morpheme that plagues the German conjugation system is ge, which surfaces only in past participle verbs by a default morphological rule associating the floating melody with the skeleton. In complement clauses, many complexities arise because the relative complementizer is a vector. If both verbs move, the resulting structure amounts to a parallelogram of forces by virtue of which the two most distant vectors become the resultant of all the intermediate ones, which are therefore bypassed, i.e. they are not spelled out. In most cases, the bypassed element is the complementizer, hence its complementarity with V2. I assemble evidence from relative clauses, wh-extraction, and multiple questions, showing that the bypass effect can eliminate significant material as well, including negation, wh-interrogatives, and relative pronouns. It turns out that a mathematical tool which is useful in the physical world takes center stage in German syntax.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005831
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Draft
keywords: v2, features, skeleton, wh-operators, vector interaction, potential difference parallelogram of forces, bypass effect, pendulum effect, superiority effect, multiple questions, relative clauses, expletive matrix clauses, topicalization, morphology, syntax., syntax
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