V2 violations in French Flemish. Nature, origin and microvariation

Schendingen van de V2-woordvolgorde in het Frans-Vlaams. Aard, oorsprong en microvariatie
Start - End 
2018 - 2021 (ongoing)
Department of Linguistics
Research Focus 



Many languages have a basic V2 word order. This means that the verb linearly takes the second position in declarative main clauses, for instance in Standard Dutch (SD, 1).

(1) Het spatte in alle richtingen.
it splashed in all directions

In one Dutch dialect, West-Flemish (WF), the verb can also be the third constituent in the clause instead of the second one. This can only happen if the clause is introduced by an adverbial element (2). This phenomenon is called V3 or V2 violation.

(2) At je derop sloeg met een pioche, het spetterde
if you on-it hit with a pickaxe it splashed

WF consists of a language area in Belgium, roofed by Standard Dutch, and a language area in France, roofed by French. This project focuses on the dialect in the French language area called French Flemish (FF), as preliminary research suggests that the amount of V3 structures in FF is higher than in Belgian WF and that more elements preceding verb and subject trigger V3, for instance non-adjuncts (3).

(3) De nieuwe wagens me makten he
the new cars we made PART

The project will formulate an answer on how V3 in FF developed, especially focusing on the role of contact with French (dialects), in which non-inversion of verb and subject after initial non-subject constituents is the norm (4).

(4) Demain, je chanterai
tomorrow I will-sing

This project focuses on the properties of V2 violations in FF, their historical development and the role of contact in the language and its effect on this phenomenon. While there has been some research on V3 patterns in FF, these studies are, especially in terms of datapoints, insufficient to give a clear image about the origin and consistency of the structure and the role of language contact. This project is therefore much broader in scope, taking into account transcriptions of spoken speech recorded in the 1960s of over 50 different locations in FF.