Rouveret (2017)

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  • Rouveret, Alain. 2017. 'VSO Word Order in the Celtic Languages', Martin Everaert & Henk C. van Riemsdijk (éds.), The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Syntax, Second Edition, 1.

 What makes Celtic languages particularly attractive to both formal syntacticians and typologists is that they rigidly instantiate a particular linguistic type in Greenberg's classification, namely VSO. The various proposals discussed in this chapter have attempted to integrate this hallmark of Celtic syntax into the scope of syntactic theorizing. Recent analyses of Celtic clausal structure, based on the VP‐internal subject hypothesis, the split‐Infl proposal, and the cartographic approach to the left periphery, represent a huge improvement over the previous accounts. Beside the verb–subject order, other dimensions must be taken into account for a proper characterization of the VSO phenomenology: agreement phenomena and the Complementarity Effect; the syntax of copular constructions, which present significant differences across Celtic, but are never V1; the existence of V2 structures in a V1 language, namely Breton. All these issues bear upon major theoretical questions, such as the nature of structure‐building processes, the status of head movement, the motivation for DP‐raising, the relation of syntax to morphology, the relevance of adjacency to morphological phenomena at PF, the nature of microparametric and macroparametric variation, and the potential connection between V1 and V2.