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In this paper, we have developed an account of word order in German verb clusters based on minimal assumptions about phrase structure. We have demonstrated that the kind of word order variation that has been used to argue for a branching analysis of the verb cluster in German can in fact be accounted for without introducing the `verb cluster' as a subphrase of the VP. Furthermore, since a `flat' VP leaves room for a considerable amount of word order variation, phenomena which are problematic for a branching analysis can be accounted for as instances of word order variation as well.

Noord G.J.M. van