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Re: V2, not SVO (Was: Save of the dative, the genitive's is already dead!)

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Wednesday, June 15, 2005, 11:39

Carsten Becker <naranoieati@...> writes:
> On Mon, 13 Jun 2005 12:46:39 +0200, Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> > wrote: > > >The verb is the second constituent, so it's V2 order, not SVO. > > What's the difference between the verb coming as second constituent of a > sentence and SVO? Or has that do with German splitting infinitives and > English not doing so?
Partly, but mainly it's about German using fronting for topicalisation, which means that the first constituent is *not* always the subject. The verb is second, that's the point.
> Or did you confuse the letters and meant that German does *not* use > SOV in main clauses or coordinated subclauses, although it's said to > be famous for the verb coming last?
No, I didn't. Here's a somewhat lengthy explanation of what I meant: In SVO, the subject comes first, but that's not how German syntax works -- the subject as well as the object can be anywhere in a propositional clause, only the second constituent is the verb, that's the fixed point. Basically, V2 is a modified VSO syntax where you select one constituent after V and move it to the front. Since this is often the subject, these sentence order is likely to be confused with SVO, but you could move the object in front, too, or an adverb: All the following are V2: Ich gebe dem Mann heute ein Buch. I give the.DAT man today a.ACC book S V IO Adv O (~SVO) Heute gebe ich dem Mann ein Buch. (~VSO) Adv V S IO O Dem Mann gebe ich heute ein Buch. (~VSO) IO V S Adv O Ein Buch gebe ich heute dem Mann. (~OVS) O V S Adv IO The stable thing in these sentences is the verb in second position. That what characterises the verb order in German sentences. Only the first one is really in SVO order, and that's mainly coincidence. To make the German/Dutch/Africaans(...) story even more complicated, it is not even true to say that V2 is modified VSO, since the basic word order in German (or at least the one that makes explaining the others easy) is that of an auxiliary clause, which is SOV. Then, to get a yes/no-question, you move the conjugated verb to the front -- the rest of the verbal complex stays where is was (this is true for German and Dutch, although the order of the verbal complex is reversed. Very funny. :-)). So you do not have a clear VSO order in yes/no questions, but instead a modified SOV, although it's close enough: Basic order SOV: ... daß ich dem Mann heute ein Buch geben will. that I the man today a book give want. S IO Adv O V Question order (V1 order, very similar to VSO, only part of the verb phrase stays at the end): Will ich dem Mann heute ein Buch geben? V S IO Adv O V' And now, from *this* V1 order, the propositional clause order V2 can easily be derived by moving any one constituent to the very front. V2: Ich will dem Mann heute ein Buch geben S V IO Adv O V' Again, confusion with SVO is easy, but actually coincedence -- see above. Most dialects even allow moving the second part of the verb complex: V2: Geben will ich dem Mann heute ein Buch. V' V S IO Adv. O And since German allows viewing obj+verb as one constituent, you can even have something like this: V2: Ein Buch geben will ich dem Mann heute. O V' V S IO Adv. \________/ one constit. You might want to have a look at the word order destription of Da Mätz se Basa, which is a blend of German, Dutch, and Africaans. Usually I do mention the differences in that description, but with L1 German, you'll notice anyway, of course. That description is here: HTH! :-) **Henrik