Verb second and its deviations: An argument for feature scattering in the left periphery




Hsu, Brian

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Glossa: a Journal of General Linguistics


This article focuses on the analysis of verb-second (V2) requirements in light of evidence that the clausal left periphery contains a series of functional projections in a fixed hierarchy (Rizzi 1997; Benincà & Poletto 2004; among many others). I discuss previous approaches to V2, the bottleneck effect and stacked head theories, and argue that they are generally unable to account for a variety of “relaxed” V2 systems that allow V3 or V4 in some contexts. I propose a new analysis of variation in the strictness of V2 in terms of the feature scattering hypothesis (Giorgi & Pianesi 1996); languages can vary in the number of functional category features that are bundled on individual heads. This allows a straightforward account for the attested typology of relaxed V2 systems, and a new explanation for cross-linguistic variation in the instantiation of functional projections.