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Scrambling: Nontriggered Chain Formation in OV Languages

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2003

Hubert Haider
Affiliation:
Salzburg University
Inger Rosengren
Affiliation:
Lund University
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Abstract

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In this paper we argue for the following properties of clause-bound scrambling, as they are manifested in German. First, scrambling presupposes head-final projections. Only selected constituents, notably arguments, scramble, the reason being that phrases selected by a head have a unique base order. Second, scrambling involves antecedent-gap dependencies with A-chain properties. Third, scrambling is overt and non-string-vacuous. Fourth, scrambling is syntactically optional, clause-bound, category neutral, and may apply to more than one phrase per clause. Fifth, scrambled elements remain transparent for extraction; they are licit binders and take scope.

Furthermore, we evaluate our conclusion that scrambling is contingent on the “OV” property by examining Yiddish, an uncontroversial scrambling Germanic language with controversial VO versus OV status. We argue that Yiddish is a variant of an OV language—thus allowing scrambling—and that it is the only Germanic language with alternative V-positions in a VP-shell structure, like Hindi, and, arguably, like Slavic languages.We wish to thank two anonymous JGL reviewers for their constructive comments and for pointing out various shortcomings in the previous version. Special thanks go to Marga Reis for valuable suggestions on various sections. The responsibility for remaining shortcomings remains ours, of course. We are very grateful to Mark Louden for his generous support in enhancing the readability.

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© 2003 Society for Germanic Linguistics
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