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LINGUIST List 17.2382

Thu Aug 24 2006

Diss: Historical Ling/Syntax: Sapp: 'Verb Order in Subordinate Clau...'

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        1.    Christopher Sapp, Verb Order in Subordinate Clauses from Early New High German to Modern German

Message 1: Verb Order in Subordinate Clauses from Early New High German to Modern German
Date: 24-Aug-2006
From: Christopher Sapp <csappolemiss.edu>
Subject: Verb Order in Subordinate Clauses from Early New High German to Modern German

Institution: Indiana University
Program: Department of Germanic Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Christopher D. Sapp

Dissertation Title: Verb Order in Subordinate Clauses from Early New High German to Modern German

Dissertation URL: http://home.olemiss.edu/~csapp/research.html

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): German, Standard (deu)

Dissertation Director:
Kari Ellen Gade
Rex A. Sprouse
Barbara Vance

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation investigates the change from the nearly free relative
order of verbs in subordinate clauses in Early New High German (1350-1650)
to the more fixed order of Modern Standard German. Chapter 2 presents a
corpus study of nearly 3,000 subordinate clauses from 30 texts from a broad
range of dialects from the 14th to the 16th century, the most comprehensive
overview of ENHG verb clusters to date. Several factors that influence
verb order are identified: syntagm type, prefix type, extraposition, focus,
and sociolinguistic factors. Chapter 3 breaks this data down by dialect
and individual text, showing that most of these factors have similar
effects across the dialects and tracing the decline of particular orders
and favoring factors over time. Chapter 4 examines these orders in
contemporary German, concentrating on the effect of focus on verb order. A
survey with speakers of Austrian dialects and Swabian shows that although
the Standard German orders are preferred, the non-standard orders may occur
under the appropriate focus conditions. A magnitude estimation experiment
demonstrates that variation in the Standard German werden-modal-infinitive
construction is also sensitive to focus. In Chapter 5, the data from the
previous chapters are used to demonstrate that the more traditional SOV
approach to the structure of German is slightly preferable to the SVO
hypothesis and that non-SOV surface orders are derived by rightward
movement. Additionally, a principle is proposed to account for the
relationship between focus and word order: a non-normal word order
indicates a marked focus interpretation. Chapter 6 discusses the
implications of this research for the history of the German language and
for language change in general.

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