The rise of verb-second | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1384-5845
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1171



This paper provides some historical background of the rise of verb-second in Germanic by data from the earliest Germanic language of which we have authentic texts (rather than slavish translations from Latin): Old English (ca. 700-1100). The rise of verb-second can be seen as activating the C-head (i) by movement of another head V, in order to demarcate a focus domain, and (ii) by merging a ‘bespoke’ element, a complementizer. The rise of verb-second, then, is seen to work in tandem with the rise of hypotaxis, in which correlative, paratactic pairs of clauses develop into main clause/subclause configurations.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): correlatives; information structure; Old English; verb-second syntax
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