Original Research

Medieval English root clauses

H. W. Broekman
Literator | Vol 14, No 2 | a705 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v14i2.705 | © 1993 H. W. Broekman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 May 1993 | Published: 03 May 1993

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H. W. Broekman, University of the Orange Free State, South Africa

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The movement operation Verb Second moves the finite verb from its base-generated position in VP to C via the I node within the Chomsky (1986) framework. As the finite verb and the complementiser are in complementary distribution, the above predicts that, contrary to fact, Verb Second is not possible in embedded clauses. However, in Frisian and Swedish Verb Second does occur in embedded clauses. This entails that a lexical complementiser does not always prevent a finite verb from undergoing Verb Second. 'The aim of this paper is to provide a survey of Old English and Middle English root clauses particularly with respect to Verb Second. Old English does not strictly conform to Verb Second in declarative root clauses. In Old English finite verbs also occur in first position and in third position in declarative root clauses. A comparison with Icelandic data will be provided as this language displays all three verb placements in declarative head main clauses as well.


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