Volume 10, Issue 2 (2019)                   LRR 2019, 10(2): 53-71 | Back to browse issues page

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Bahrami K. A Study of the Syntactic Features of the Middle Position in German. LRR. 2019; 10 (2) :53-71
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-25758-en.html
Assistant professor of German language and literature, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran , k_bahrami@sbu.ac.ir
Abstract:   (6997 Views)
German language has a subject–verb–object (SVO) word order in independent clauses and a subject–object–verb (SOV) order in dependent clauses. Despite this feature, which is totally different from Farsi and English (these two languages both use the same word in dependent and independent clauses), German has a flexible word order. That is to say each of the syntactic functions (e.g. subject, direct object, indirect object, and adverb) can occur before the conjugated verb (referred to as Vorfeld), between the conjugated verb and the second verb (known as Mittelfeld, in sentences with a modal or linking verb), or after the second verb or the infinitive (called Nachfeld position in German grammar). The present study focuses on the arrangement of elements in the Mittelfeld position according to the information structure rules and other factors, such as definiteness, animacy, and pronoun placement. The significance of the study comes from the fact that there is no limitation on the places words can take in the middle of the sentence, as opposed to the Vorfeld position in which only one element can be placed. A question that is often raised here and that many German learners struggle to answer is: What are the rules underlying placement of elements in different positions? The answer to this question lies in that feature of the German language pointed to earlier in the abstract, i.e. the flexible word order in German. Referring to the rules of information structure and introducing other factors affecting word order in the middle of the sentence, the present paper (through a descriptive-analytical approach) shows that in addition to the relative freedom in the arrangement of grammatical words, semantic and pragmatic factors can also influence Words’ order. The results indicate that a number of these factors are sometimes in contradiction to one another. After scrutinizing a few example sentences, some decisive examples are presented.

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Article Type: مقالات علمی پژوهشی | Subject: Linguistics
Published: 2019/06/15

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