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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

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Academic Paper


Title: Relative inversion and non-verb-initial imperatives in Early Modern Swedish
Author: Erik Magnusson Petzell
Institution: Institute for Language and Folklore
Linguistic Field: General Linguistics
Subject Language: Swedish
Abstract: This article deals with two syntactic differences between Present-Day Swedish (PDSw) and Early Modern Swedish (EMSw): first, only EMSw allows VS and XVS word order to occur in relative clauses; second, only EMSw permits non-verb-initial imperatives. One structural difference between the varieties is assumed to be a prerequisite for all these word order differences: the subject position was spec-TP in EMSw but is spec-FinP in PDSw. Only the lower position (spec-TP) is compatible with inversion (VS) and fronting of non-subjects (XVS) in relative clauses as well as with imperative clauses having elements other than the imperative verb in the initial position. To be able to account for the latter phenomenon, however, an additional assumption is needed: the imperative type-feature, [imp], always accompanies the verb in PDSw but is tied to an operator in EMSw. The first assumption about differing subject positions is independently motivated by findings already in the previous literature. The second assumption about the differing behaviour of [imp] in the two varieties is supported by the distribution of imperative verbs over a wider range of syntactic contexts in EMSw than in PDSw.

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This article appears IN Nordic Journal of Linguistics Vol. 36, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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