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Academic Paper


Title: A comparative approach to syntactic change in the history of English
Author: C. Jan-Wouter Zwart
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Linguistic Field: Syntax; Historical Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This programmatic article suggests that crucial aspects of syntactic change in the history of English derive from the resetting of a single parameter, the pied piping parameter. Whereas Old English (and the Modern Continental West Germanic languages) treats VP material individually, yielding characteristic patterns of object, particle, and verb placement, Modern English treats the VP as a collective, moving it to a position to the left of certain ‘low’ adverbs and adverbials. The shift from individual to collective movement is described in detail, with its repercussions on the position of the verb, its object(s), and the verbal particle. The emergence of a zero reflexive and the development of have as the exclusive perfect auxiliary are suggested to be long-term effects of the shift from individual to collective movement.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 9, Issue 1.

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