Icelandic V3 orders with temporal adjuncts

Investigation into prosodic breaks and syntactic parsing

  • Sigríður Sæunn Sigurðardóttir Yale University
Keywords: Icelandic, V3, prosodic break, adverbial adjuncts, syntax


Although Icelandic is a verb second language (V2), it sometimes allows for V3 orders. In this paper, I focus on a type of Icelandic V3 which consists of an adverbial adjunct occurring in front of wh-questions and present the results of a pilot study that investigated the effects of the length of prosodic break and clause type in relation to V3 structures. Participants were presented with an adverbial clause sandwiched between two sentences (A and B), of which the latter varied between a wh-question and a subject-initial sentence. The breaks between the adverbial and the sentences varied in length. The task was to judge which sentence (A or B) was longer, with the response reflecting which sentence the adverbial clause was parsed with. The results indicate that both the clause type of the B sentence and the length of the prosodic break between the adverbial and the B sentence had a significant effect on how the sentences were parsed.