Verb-Second and Initial-Weak Prosody

Hisao Tokizaki


The verb-second order (V2) has been discussed mainly in syntax in generative grammar since 1980’s (e.g. den Besten 1983). Most studies assume that V2 order is derived from the base order by a syntactic head-movement of T to C position together with a movement of a constituent to the specifier position of C. In the minimalist program, the status of head-movement as a syntactic movement is questioned. Chomsky (1995) argues that head-movement is a phonological movement, not a syntactic one. However, the nature of this phonological movement is not clear. In this paper, I propose that V2 order is realized by the language-specific prosody at Externalization, not by syntactic movement nor by phonological movement. I argue that languages with stem-initial stress (and unstressed prefixes) allow V2 order (e.g. Germanic languages except for modern English, Kashmir). These languages allow an unstressed initial syllable in a word. I argue that this initial-weak word-prosody projects up to phrasal prosody in the languages. Constructions with V2 order have an unstressed verb in a prosodic phrase. I propose that the prosody of the V2 languages accepts the order because the V2 order matches the initial-weak word/phrase prosody of the languages.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-76

Cite as: Tokizaki, H. (2020) Verb-Second and Initial-Weak Prosody. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 371-375, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-76.


@inproceedings{Tokizaki2020,
  author={Hisao Tokizaki},
  title={{Verb-Second and Initial-Weak Prosody}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={371--375},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-76},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-76}
}