Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience, compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science.
It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is – if it disagrees with experiment it is wrong.Richard Feynman, from a lecture he gave in 1964
What you read, when you read this book, is inspired by the desire to live up to Feynman's standard in the field of grammar research. (Un)fortunately, this very desire made it inevitable for me to leave the well-trodden mainstream paths more often than not, for a simple reason. The paths lead to reasonable accounts for VO languages, but to questionable analyses of OV languages. I must admit though that I am not sure whether I have put to test my own pet ideas as squarely as I dealt with most of the competing hypotheses. Falsification is just labour, creativity is gift. You will have to find out.
Here is the point of departure: German is a verb-final Germanic language. Germanic languages are V-‘movement’ languages.