Variable verb second in Norwegian main and embedded clauses


  • Maud Westendorp UiT The Arctic University of Norway



Norwegian has verb second (V2) word order in main but not embedded clauses. Although as a first approximation V2 is a phenomenon characteristic of root clauses, it has long been known that it occurs also in a restricted set of embedded clauses in Norwegian, as in many, if not all, of the other North Germanic languages. Many Norwegian dialects in addition allow deviations from the standard V2 word order in main clause interrogatives. Hence, the asymmetric verb second pattern seems to break down in different ways in Norwegian. This study presents new data from a large-scale elicited production experiment targeting the placement of the finite verb in both main and embedded clauses in Norwegian. The distribution of deviations from the standard word order pattern, and the constraints on the environments where these are produced, will be of primary concern. While classic accounts of verb second analyse it as involving a macro-parameter, I will argue based on the collected production data that it is necessarily decomposed in several ways, with variation in both main and embedded clauses guided by clause type, assertion, and specific lexical items.



2022-01-17 — Updated on 2022-01-17