This article argues against cascades of information-structural functional heads in the German middle field as an explanation for scrambling movements. Instead, we argue, some instances of scrambling correlate with sentence-level semantic effects, whereas other word order changes are affected by prosody and do not have any interpretative effects. An alternative architecture for scrambling is developed, which takes into account the clear empirical differences between these different subtypes of what is summarily called ‘scrambling’. In this architecture, syntax underspecifies word order and is ignorant of information structure. The apparent interaction of word order, semantic interpretations and discourse is explained by an interface architecture that licenses word orders on the basis of their syntactic, semantic and prosodic (but not information structural) properties.
scrambling, features, semantics, prosody, information structure
How to Cite
Struckmeier, V., (2017) “Against information structure heads: A relational analysis of German scrambling”, Glossa a journal of general linguistics 2(1): 1. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.56