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The Language Hoax

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Language and Development in Africa

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Academic Paper


Title: Structural variation in Old English root clauses
Author: Susan Pintzuk
Institution: University of York
Author: Eric Haeberli
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Geneva
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Syntax
Abstract: A standard observation concerning basic constituent order in Old English (OE) is that the position of finite verbs varies by clause type. In root clauses, the finite verb tends to occur toward the beginning of the clause, and we frequently find Verb Second (V2) order. In contrast, in subordinate clauses, finite verbs generally occur toward the end of the clause, and these clauses are frequently verb-final. We challenge the traditional assumption that verb-final orders and, hence, the occurrence of the finite verb in a head-final structural position are rare in OE root clauses. We present new data demonstrating that the frequency of head-final structure in OE root clauses is much higher than previously acknowledged. We then explore some of the implications of this finding for the general structural analysis of OE.

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This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 20, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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