Caroline Heycock Colloquium

April 14
3:30 - 5:00 pm
Pick 016
University of Edinburgh
Diachrony and Variational Acquisition: How verbs stop moving in Scandinavia

Koeneman & Zeijlstra (2014) have argued for the rehabilitation of the hypothesis that verb movement to a high position in the clause (V-to-I, or V-to-Agr) occurs if and only if the language has a sufficiently “rich” agreement paradigm. In this talk I’ll present recent joint work with John Sundquist where we show that this hypothesis is incompatible with the time-course of the loss of such verb movement in Danish, even given the different types of reanalysis posited in K&Z. Then, drawing on my collaboration with Joel Wallenberg, I’ll argue that the variational acquisition paradigm of Yang 2000 provide a better account for the tendency in Scandinavian for verb movement to be lost over time, given the substantial structural ambiguity between V-to-I and embedded Verb Second.