Verb-Second and (Micro)Variation in Two Rhaeto-Romance Varieties of Northern Italy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Rhaeto-Romance varieties are the only present-day Romance varieties which exhibit the Verb Second constraint (Benincà 1994, Poletto 2002, Salvi 2010). In this chapter we examine two properties typically ascribed to the Verb Second phenomenon, subject-finite verb inversion and restrictions on the co-occurrence of multiple constituents in the sentence-initial position, in two Rhaeto-Romance varieties spoken in South Tyrol (Province of Bolzano, Northern Italy). We demonstrate that both varieties behave like Verb-Second languages as far as both phenomena are concerned, but exhibit a specific Verb-Second system governed by the interplay between syntactic and discourse constraints which differs from that of Germanic and Old Romance languages. We also show that these two varieties are subject to diatopic and micro-diatopic variation and therefore provide an excellent showcase for the role of sociolinguistic factors in determining variation in syntax.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Italian Dialectology. Sketches of Italo-Romance Grammars
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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