Andrew Carnie, Heidi Harley and Elizabeth Pyatt
in A. Carnie and E. Guilfoyle, eds., The Syntax of Verb-Initial Languages, pp, 39-60 Oxford University Press
Publication year: 2000

In the generative paradigm, there are at least two schools of thought about the derivation of VSO order via verb raising. One holds that the verb raises to the highest complementizer position (C°) of the matrix clause, in a manner familiar from den Besten’s (1981) analysis of verb second languages like German and Dutch. The other holds that the verb is not in C° at all; rather it appears on the highest head of the inflectional complex, with the subject in some lower structural position. The first of these approaches was popular in the early work in the Government and Binding framework (Stowell 1989, Deprez and Hale 1986, Hale 1989). The latter approach has gained popularity in more recent work (Chomsky 1993, Bobaljik and Carnie 1996, Carnie 1995, Chung and McCloskey 1987, McCloskey 1990, 1991, 1996a, 1996b, Rouveret 1991, Sadler 1988, Guilfoyle 1990, 1993, Duffield 1991, 1995, Pyatt 1992, Fassi Fehri 1993, among many others). In this chapter, we would like to reopen the question of whether V^>C° movement is relevant to word order considerations in VSO languages. We will argue that both V-»Infl and V^»C° are present in the VSO language Old Irish. We will argue that Old Irish had a “filled C°” requirement (in a sense to be made more precise below), thus deriving its basic VSO order from V—*C° movement. However, we will also assume that Old Irish derived VSO order from V—»Infl movement in clauses with filled complementizers.