General Editor: Jeroen van Craenenbroeck
[Linguistic Variation Yearbook 7] 2007
► pp. 163–200
I argue that despite their traditional verb-first vs. verb second partition, Welsh and Breton both instantiate a ban on verb-first and I present an analysis of these two languages as fundamentally verb second. In this view, so-called verb first orders prototypically illustrated byWelsh result from inconspicuous strategies to fill in the preverbal position, whereas traditional verb second prototypically illustrated by Breton results from conspicuous strategies to fill in the preverbal position. I show that both conspicuous and inconspicuous verb second orders are present in bothWelsh and Breton. The difference in word order between Welsh and Breton is reduced to (i) a lexical parameter, that is availability of a free preverbal expletive particle inWelsh, and (ii) a syntactic parameter: Breton allows for the creation of expletives by short movement, a parameter shared with Icelandic and other languages instantiating stylistic fronting.
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