Verb Clusters: Variation at the Right Periphery

Susi Wurmbrand

McGill University, Montréal (Canada)
The primary purpose of this talk is to address the question of where verb cluster formation takes place and what properties drive various word orders found across West Germanic. Concentrating on verb clusters involving two and three verbs, we will outline how a theory of verb cluster formation has to be designed to capture the facts. The conclusion will be that a theory along the lines presented in Haegeman & Van Riemsdijk (1986) seems to fare best in both its descriptive as well as explanatory adequacy. The second purpose of this talk is to present a summary of an empirical (questionnaire based) study of verb clusters in German. The results of the (ca. 100) questionnaires we received show that the word orders reported in the literature are indeed available for all dialect groups, but that many other orders are possible as well and that in many cases, speaker variation is significant. While parts of the empirical domain allow no generalizations, careful delineation of the different types of elements that make up clusters do reveal certain patterns. Finally, a crosslinguistic comparison of IPP-constructions with verb clusters involving infinitives or participles will lead to an argument that the order in verb clusters is determined post-syntactically.
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Syntactic Atlas of the Dutch Dialects (SAND)