Aarhus Universitets segl

Guest lecture with Kristin Melum Eide (NTNU Trondheim)

Verbs and auxiliaries in Mainland Scandinavian and English

Oplysninger om arrangementet


Onsdag 28. september 2022,  kl. 14:15 - 15:45




Free DKK

In Mainland Scandinavian any verb can raise to the V2 position as long as it is finite. Non-finite verbs are excluded in the V2 (and also V1) position. In standard Present-Day English however, lexical verbs and auxiliaries underlie totally different restrictions as regards access to the V2 position. Apart from the well-known exceptional pockets of residual V2, e.g. quotative inversion (“Hello there, says Mike”), locative inversion (“Here comes trouble”), where certain lexical verbs do appear in the V2 position, a number of constructions exist where only auxiliaries appear in the V2 position, e.g. negative inversion (“Never have I seen such beauty”), and some brands of Wh-movement (“Why did you leave your car in the lot?”). In these “proper V2”cases the auxiliary occurs to the left of the subject. Besides this, we find a range of constructions where an auxiliary is required and a lexical verb does not suffice; these are the contexts triggering “do-support” without the auxiliary raising past the subject, e.g. with negation (“Last Friday he didn’t buy any cheese”). In many approaches auxiliaries are considered as a homogenous set of verbal elements, but a closer look reveals that many clause types (e.g. subjunctives, why-not constructions and others) disallow certain auxiliaries but permit others (“When the Mayor arrives, why not be already dancing/have danced already/*must dance?” In this talk I demonstrate that a careful comparison between English and Mainland Scandinavian reveals the key component to almost all of the patterns we observe.