V1 clauses and EPP in Old Italian


  • Andrea Matticchio University of Goettingen


This work discusses some aspects of the so-called “relaxed verb-second hypothesis” for Old Romance languages focusing on Old Italian data. Although the idea that Medieval Romance varieties displayed some kind of verb-second grammar is often accepted in the literature, careful consideration of the data and the predictions casts some doubts on this hypothesis and suggests pursuing a different road to account for word order phenomena in these varieties. The focus here is on verb-first main clauses, which result from merging a null element in the left periphery according to Wolfe’s (2015) influential work. If this approach is adopted, problems arise for the definition of the null categories that can occupy the left periphery of the clause: there is no motivation to postulate such elements unless a rule of obligatory pre-field occupation is independently justified, and the data speaks against such a rule. The question then arises whether a further weakened version of the relaxed V2 hypothesis is still preferable to a non-V2 analysis of Old Italian Grammar.


verb-second, Old Italian, EPP, null-elements, left periphery


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