Edited by Esther Pascual and Sergeiy Sandler
[Human Cognitive Processing 55] 2016
► pp. 193–213
Fictive questions in conditionals?
Synchronic and diachronic evidence from German and English
This chapter discusses the alleged emergence of verb-first (V1) conditionals in English and German from question-driven fictive interaction of the type A: p? (B: Yes.) A: Then q. Since this scenario proves impossible to maintain with regard to English, an alternative model is proposed treating V1 as the grammaticalized residue of a stage in ancient Germanic at which word-order options were determined pragmatically instead of syntactically. The chapter shows that the conversational frame left its mark on V1-conditionals indirectly through the period as a rhetorical discourse unit in which V1 emerged as a marker of conditionality. This happened in different ways linked in part to the divergence of word-order systems between English and German.
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