Information structure and OV word order in Old and Middle English: a phase-based approach

Struik, Tara ; van Kemenade, Ans

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-634358
Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2022
The title of a journal, publication series: The Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics
Volume: 25
Issue number: 1
Page range: 79-114
Place of publication: Dordrecht [u.a.]
Publishing house: Springer Science + Business Media B.V.
ISSN: 1383-4924 , 1572-8552
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Anglistik IV - Anglistische Linguistik/Diachronie (Trips 2006-)
Pre-existing license: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 400 Language, linguistics
420 English
Abstract: This article re-examines the evidence for OV and VO variation and the loss of OV order in historical English, and presents a novel and unified analysis of Old and Middle English word order based on a uniform VO grammar, with leftward scrambling of specific types of objects. This analysis provides an insightful framework for a precise analysis of how OV word orders differ from VO word orders. We show in detail that OV with referential objects involves discourse-given objects. We then present a phase-based analysis from a VO base in which objects undergo feature-driven movement to spec,vP triggered by the information structure of the object. We propose that this analysis also yields a syntactic framework for analysing the derivation of preverbal quantified and negated objects, as well as a natural explanation for the stepwise loss of OV word order.

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