The distibution of embedded V2 and V3 in modern Icelandic

TitillThe distibution of embedded V2 and V3 in modern Icelandic
Form útgáfuTímaritsgrein
HöfundarÁsgrímur Angantýsson
TímaritWorking Papers in Scandinavian Syntax
LykilorðÍslenska, Málfræði

This paper aims at giving a comprehensive and current overview of the key empirical facts regarding embedded V2 and V3 in Icelandic, including age-related variation, and to compare this to what has been shown for other Scandinavian varieties. It is shown that Icelandic is a robust symmetric V2-language, meaning that it exhibits V2 as the default worder order both in matrix and subordinate clauses. In general, preposing is easier in matrix clauses than in subordinate clauses,with the exception of Stylistic Fronting (SF) which is more easily applicable in embedded contexts. As discussed in the paper, recent research has shown that the simple typological picture of the late 1990s is in reality much more articulated, in particular with respect to age-related variation. The fact that younger speakers of Icelandic do not accept embedded topicalization and SF as much as older speakers could be interpreted as an ‘ongoing change’ in Icelandic. However,it must be taken into account that these constructions are more common in the written language and in a formal style of speech. If the results regarding V3 in Icelandic are taken to indicate an‘ongoing change’, then there are two changes that must be recognized: In relative clauses the conditions for V3 are reminiscent of the conditions for Topicalization and SF (less accepted by younger people), while in complement-clauses V3 is more accepted by younger people than older (innovation).

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