A Study of Verb-Second Phenomena in Medieval Spanish Complex Sentences

  • Published : 2005.12.01


This study aims at investigating the 'verb-second' phenomena indicated in complex sentences of medieval Spanish. Especially, when the complex sentence is composed of a preposed adverbial clause and its succeeding main clause, the subject inversion is noticeable in the latter. The fundamental motive of this type of inversion is due to the 'verb-second' structure, in which a topic appears in the first position and the verb immediately after the topic. So it can be said that the subject inversion is a prerequisite for a verb to be located in the second position when the adverbial clause functions as a topic to the main clause, as is often the case with Germanic languages like German, Dutch, etc.. On the contrary, modern Spanish complex sentences do not show this phenomenon, with a strong tendency to locate a grammatical subject in the preverbal position. Therefore, medieval Spanish might be typologically closer to Germanic languages than to modern Spanish. In order to argue for this assumption, the formal and functional criteria by which the preposed adverbial clause could be defined as a topic NP will be examined across the comparition with left-dislocation structure.