Positional Expletives in Danish, German, and Yiddish: An HPSG Approach

Stefan Müller, Bjarne Ørsnes

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


    This paper deals with expletives that are inserted into clauses for structural
    reasons. We will focus on the Germanic languages Danish, German,
    and Yiddish. In Danish and Yiddish expletives are inserted in preverbal position
    in certain wh clauses: For Danish such an insertion is necessary when
    the subject is locally extracted from an SVO configuration in non-assertive
    clauses. In Yiddish wh clauses are formed from a wh phrase and a V2 clause.
    If no element would be fronted in the embedded V2 clause, an expletive is
    inserted in non-assertive clauses in order to meet the V3 requirement. In
    addition to the embedded wh clauses, declarative V2 clauses also allow the
    insertion of an expletive. In Danish the expletive fills the subject position
    and is not necessarily fronted. In German and Yiddish the expletive has to
    occur in fronted position. In contrast to Danish and Yiddish, German does
    not insert expletives in wh clauses. They are inserted only into declarative
    V2 clauses in order to fulfill the V2 requirement without having to front another
    constituent. In this paper we try to provide an account that captures the
    comonnalities between the three languages while being able to account for
    the differences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the HPSG 2011 Conference
    EditorsStefan Müller
    Place of PublicationStanford, Ca
    PublisherCSLI Publications
    Publication date2011
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventThe 18th International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar - , Denmark
    Duration: 22 Aug 201125 Aug 2011
    Conference number: 18


    ConferenceThe 18th International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar
    SeriesInternational Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar. Proceedings

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