Remarks on prepositional object clauses in Germanic

  • Lutz Gunkel Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache
  • Jutta Hartmann Bielefeld University
Keywords: Germanic, complement clause, prepositional clause, correlate


This paper analyses the variation we find in the realization of finite clausal complements in the position of prepositional objects in a set of Germanic languages. The Germanic languages differ with respect to whether prepositions can directly select a clause (North Germanic) or not and instead need a prepositional proform (Continental West Germanic). Within the Continental West Germanic languages, we find further differences with respect to the constituent structures. We propose that German strong vs. weak prepositional proforms (e.g. drauf vs. darauf) differ with respect to their syntax, while this is not the case for the Dutch forms (ervan vs. daarvan). What the Germanic languages under consideration share is that the prepositional element can be covert, except in English. English shows only limited evidence for the presence of P with finite clauses in the position of prepositional objects generally, but only with a selected set of verbs. This investigation is a first step towards a broader study of the nature of clauses in prepositional object positions and the implications for the syntax of clausal complementation.

Author Biography

Jutta Hartmann, Bielefeld University

Dr. Lutz Gunkel, Leibniz-Insitut für Deutsche Sprache, Germany

Prof. Dr. Jutta M. Hartmann, Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Bielefeld