Latin influence on German word order?

Hans Henrich Hock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Behaghel’s claim that verb finality in German dependent clauses (DCs) reflects Latin influence (1892, 1932) has been revived by Chirita (1997, 2003). According to Chirita, DC word order remains variable up to Early New High German, while in Latin, verb-finality is more frequent in DCs than main clauses (MCs); hence, she claims, German verb finality reflects Latin influence. This papers shows that the arguments for Latin influence are problematic and that the Modern German word order difference between MCs and DCs can be explained as the ultimate outcome of developments that started in early North and West Germanic. In the conclusion I briefly discuss similar developments in Western Romance and their implications for European contact linguistics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-209
Number of pages27
JournalBelgian Journal of Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 31 2019


  • German
  • Latin
  • Romance
  • Syntax
  • Verb finality
  • West Germanic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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