Christopher D. Sapp





  • Research



Other Publications



The Verbal Complex in Subordinate Clauses from Medieval to Modern German

This monograph, published in 2011 by John Benjamins in the Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today series, is an empirical and theoretical study of clause-final verbal complexes in the history of German. The book presents corpus studies of Middle High German and Early New High German and surveys of contemporary varieties of German. These investigations of the verbal complex address not only the frequencies of the word orders, but also the linguistic factors that influence them. On that empirical basis, the analysis adopted is the classic verb-final approach, with alternative orders derived by Verb (Projection) Raising. Verb Raising in these historical and modern varieties is subject to morphological, prosodic, and sociolinguistic restrictions, suggesting that the orders in question are not driven by narrow syntax but by their effects at the interface with phonology. This study will be of interest to students and scholars studying the diachronic syntax of German, West Germanic dialect syntax, and the relationship between prosody and word order.    


This represents a complete revision of the work presented in my 2006 dissertation.  There is an entirely new chapter on Middle High German, new empirical work on Swiss German, and an updated analysis of the effect of prosody on verb order.  The book may be purchased directly from Benjamins.


Articles available for download


o                    To appear (2011).  “Auxiliary selection in the Early New High German perfect tenses.”  Groninger Arbeiten zur germanistischen Linguistik.

o                    2009.  “Syncope as the Cause of Präteritumschwund: New data from an Early New High German corpus.”  Journal of Germanic Linguistics 21.4: 419–450. [free download] ©Society for Germanic Linguistics

o                    2007.  “Focus and verb order in Early New High German: Historical and contemporary evidence”.  In Roots: Linguistics in search of its evidential base, ed. by Sam Featherston and Wolfgang Sternefeld, 299-318.  Berlin: de Gruyter. [free download]

o                    2006. “The Rise of the Suffixal Article in the Early North Germanic DP”. Co-authored with Dorian Roehrs. In Proceedings of the Western Conference on Linguistics 2004, ed. by Michal Temkin Martinez, Asier Alcazar, and Roberto Mayoral Hernandez, 290-301.  Fresno: California State University. [free download]

For a complete list of my publications, see my CV.


Research Links

o                    Bonner Frühneuhochdeutsch-Korpus (Early New High German corpus)

o                    Thomas Gloning's medieval German texts

o                    Susi Wurmbrand's verb clusters bibliography

o                    Wolfgang Näser's bibliography of German syntax

o                    University of Tübingen's SFB 441: Linguistic Data Structures

o                    University of Potsdam / Humboldt University’s SFB 632: Information Structure (especially project B4 on Germanic word order)

o                    Syntactic Atlas of German-speaking Switzerland, University of Zurich

o                    Middle High German Grammar project (Bochum site)

o                    GoldVarb X, a statistics program for sociolinguistic analysis

o                    WebExp2 Experimental Software for psycholinguistic analysis

Created by Christopher D. Sapp
Last updated April 2011