The persistence of verb second in negative utterances in Breton
This article examines word order in negative clauses in Breton across two generations separated by a gap in language transmission. It might be expected that the V2 constraint in Breton matrix clauses would be subject to change in light of immense influence from French and this transmission gap. An examination of original fieldwork data indicates that there is little change between the older (65+) and younger (children/adults aged 20–30) speakers, but that there is variation among younger speakers currently in Breton-medium education. All speakers use the expected V2 in utterances with a pronominal subject. With lexical subjects, it seems that the key factor is the amount of Breton input children receive. Children in bilingual schooling with no additional Breton input use exclusively SVO order, whereas children in immersion schooling or with further Breton input pattern with older speakers and young adults using V2 with complex verbs, and both SVO and V2 with simple verbs. The implications of this for the continued maintenance of the V2 constraint in Breton are discussed, and the overriding factor is argued to be the continuation of Breton input as children grow older.
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