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Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 369–427 | Cite as

Yiddish VP Order and the Typology of Object Movement in Germanic

  • Molly Diesing
Article

Abstract

The ordering of NPs in Germanic languages has received a great deal of attention in the literature on scrambling and object shift. This paper examines the relevant data from Yiddish, and concludes on the basis of a number of tests that the underlying word order in the VP is VO. Among the diagnostic tests used are the semantic constraints placed on shifted objects in Yiddish; that is, they must be definite or specific/generic. It is proposed that this constraint is due to a general interpretation condition which requires the fixing of scope relations in the syntax (relying on the notion of semantically-driven movement developed in Diesing and Jelinek 1995). Examination of the reordering possibilities in Yiddish in comparison with both West Continental Germanic and Scandinavian leads to the conclusion that Yiddish allows scrambling (rather than object shift), placing it in a unique position among the VO Germanic languages. The paper concludes with a discussion of semantically-drivenmovement in the context of economy conditions such as those proposed by Chomsky (1995).

Keywords

Artificial Intelligence Diagnostic Test Economy Condition Word Order Object Movement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Molly Diesing
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Linguistics, Morrill HallCornell UniversityIthacaU.S.A.

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