The Syntax, Semantics, and Prosody of German "VP"-fronting

Vera Lee-Schoenfeld, Stephanie Anya Lunden


“VP”-fronting involving an unergative or transitive (agentive) vP depends on a rise-fall, bridge-contour intonation (Büring 1997) in order to be acceptable.

(1) [/Ein Außenseiter gewonnen] hat hier noch nie.
a.NOM outsider won has here yet never
‘It has never happened here that an outsider won.’

Furthermore, the fronted vP must express partially discourse-old information, have a non-specific/generic subject, and denote a proposition that is quantified over, not asserted.

Pitch tracks show the bridge-contour ‘wrapping’ vP into one large prosodic (Intonational) phrase with a high edge tone, reducing vP-contained DPs to major phrases.

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