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date: 23 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter deals with syntactic and prosodic reflexes of information structure in the Germanic languages. It begins with an overview of givenness and word order variation in the TP, along with aboutness topics and the prosodic prominence of topics and foci. It then considers the postulation of a focus head in Germanic and how contrast seems to intensify the acoustic properties of topics and foci. It shows how the left edge of verb second clauses acts as a slot for placing contrastive elements in all Germanic languages, but that the position is also filled on purely formal grounds. The article also describes the conditions of information structure that decide whether an XP can go to the position preceding the finite verb/auxiliary in the verb second (V2) constructions. Finally, it discusses two types of V2 constructions: unrestricted V2 constructions and pragmatically restricted V2 constructions.

Keywords: information structure, Germanic languages, givenness, word order, aboutness, topics, contrast, foci, finite verb, verb second constructions

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