Guest lecture with Kristin Melum Eide (NTNU Trondheim)
Verbs and auxiliaries in Mainland Scandinavian and English
Info about event
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.