Walkden – verb second

Verb second

All the Germanic languages have, or have had at some point, a rule which states that in main clauses the finite verb must be the second element. This verb-second (V2) phenomenon raises a number of questions with important implications for linguistic theorizing. What counts as a constituent? What is clause type and how does it relate to semantic-pragmatic notions such as assertion? Why are there no “inverse V2” languages, with the verb in penultimate position? And if “grammars can’t count”, why does it appear that they can count to two in this instance? Based on careful examination of the Germanic data, we’ll explore these implications, the typology, and some of the analyses that have been advanced to account for the distribution and properties of V2.