How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.
This book considers the synchronic and diachronic syntax of finite clauses in Medieval French from a generative point of view. Two salient and closely related features of Old French, the verb-second constraint and the limited distribution of null subjects, are followed through the Middle French period where they evolve in largely independent ways. The author argues, after consideration of several areas of controversy, that V2 in (late) Old French is triggered by topicalization in root clauses. Such questions as the position of postverbal subjects from the grammar of French are also addressed. The work further compares the syntax of Medieval French to that of Modern French and the Germanic languages and provides extensive documentation from Old and Middle French texts.