placement of 'up' and 'ab': A comparison.
In: Journal of Comparative Germanic
Linguistics 8 (2005): 185-224.
The particle verb construction
(PVC), also referred to in the literature as phrasal verb or separable
complex verb, occurs in most if not all of the Germanic languages. The
work presented here deals with a comparison of the transitive PVC in
English and German. In English, the construction occurs in two
alternating word orders (They called off the concert vs. They called
the concert off ). In German, on the other hand, only one order is
possible (Sie sagten das Konzert ab vs.
*Sie sagten ab das Konzert; *Sie absagten das Konzert). The central
question is why this kind of word order alternation is possible in a
language with otherwise relatively strict word order, such as English,
but not in a related language such as German, which is otherwise freer
in its constituent ordering, allowing, e.g., for scrambling. In this
article, the pattern is explained in terms of (the ranking of) violable
universal constraints from different modules of the grammar. I
introduce a PVC-related syntactic constraint which punishes particle
pied-piping. I argue that it is the rank of this constraint with
respect to a number of prosodic constraints that is responsible for the
variation between English and German.