Vol. 21 No. 1-2 (2020)

V2. Un paio di malintesi

Giampaolo Salvi
Università Eötvös Loránd

Published 14-12-2020

How to Cite

Salvi, G. (2020). V2. Un paio di malintesi. Verbum – Analecta Neolatina, 21(1-2), 251–290. Retrieved from https://ojs.ppke.hu/verbum/article/view/288


The aim of this article is to assess the soundness of the Verb Second (V2) hypothesis as applied to the Medieval Romance languages against some critical stances that have emerged in the literature. In the first part I retrace the main steps through which research conducted in the frame of historical comparative linguistics could recognize some generalizations concerning word order, clitic placement and subject expression, and I show how these were merged into the V2-hypothesis developed in the frame of Generative Grammar. In the second part I offer a critical discussion of the main objections that have been raised against this hypothesis, which I classify in three main types: 1. some refute the hypothesis by simply ignoring the relevant facts; 2. others deny that word order in Medieval Romance was ruled by a V2-system by emphasizing the differences from Germanic V2; 3. still others deny that the V2-hypothesis can account for the Romance word order by ascertaining constructions that the hypothesis cannot explain. I show that the objection raised do not affect the core of the proposal: 1. the facts are real, and the V2-hypothesis can explain them; 2. differences exist between Germanic V2 and Romance V2, but the core phenomena are the same; and 3. alternative word orders are attested in Medieval Romance, but these are the remains of previous linguistic stages which survive as archaisms near the prevailing V2-system. In the third part I comment on some empirical problems that are in need of more extensive research.