German Word Order Set Against English SVO Structure

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GRIN Verlag, 2007 - 56 pages
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Seminar paper from the year 2002 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Linguistics, grade: 1,3 (A), University of Cologne, 11 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Introduction: In comparison to English, the German language does not seem to have a specific word order. The distinction between grammatical functions like subjects or objects is mainly due to case-inflection and prepositions. For that reason, word order in German sentences can vary to some extent without a fundamental change in meaning. In the following analysis of German syntax, we are going to consider a possibility of finding the basic German word order. On the basis of the Government and Binding Theory, a widely accepted approach to syntactic analysis, we are going to argue that the structure of a subordinate clause underlies every German sentence. In doing so, we will find that the position of the verb will play a pivotal role. With the help of a clear characterisation, it becomes easier to understand German syntax and to contrast it with other languages such as English. Although the two languages are closely related in historical terms, German sentence structure differs from English SVO (subject-verb-object) word order, which we will examine in chapter III. But before we can embark on the study of English and German syntax, we need to introduce a considerable amount of terminology and syntactic principles, which will form the necessary set of rules in our subsequent analysis. Kurzer Uberblick auf Deutsch: Diese Arbeit sucht auf der Grundlage der Government and Binding Theory nach der Basisstruktur eines jeden deutschen Satzes. Wahrend in der englischen Sprache die Subjekt-Verb-Objekt-Struktur vorliegt, und man mit Blick auf deutsche Hauptsatze Gleiches im Deutschen vermuten konnte, so bringt diese Arbeit eine Vielzahl von Argumenten, die eine Subjekt-Objekt-Verb-Struktur in der deutschen Sprache nahe legen. Unglaubig? Eine kurze Ubersetzung von to sing a s
 

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Contents

Problems in the analysis of the position of the verb
6
Parametric variation between English and German
16
Conclusion
20
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