ERIC Number: ED399780
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
Old English Verb-Complement Word Order and the Change from OV to VO.
York Papers in Linguistics, v17 p241-264 Mar 1996
An alternative account of the Old English verb-complement word order and the change from OV to VO is offered, based on an analysis of 16 Old English texts. Evidence is provided that the change does not involve abrupt reanalysis but rather synchronic competition between two grammars, beginning in the Old English period and continuing into Middle English. Background assumptions and terminology are outlined first. The standard analysis of Old English and the change from OV to VO is then described, and three predictions of the standard analysis are presented and shown to be unfulfilled. It is shown that (1) clauses unambiguously derived from a VO grammar are used productively during the Old English period, before the change is supposed to have taken place, (2) clauses unambiguously derived from an OV grammar are used productively during the Middle English period, after the change is supposed to have taken place, and (3) the increase in VO surface word order during the Old English period and the trigger for change at that period's end can not be linked directly to an increased rate of either postposition rules or verb-second constraint. The proposed hypothesis of grammatical competition accounting for the word order variation is then presented. Contains 41 references and an appendix of abbreviations. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: For complete volume, see FL 024 097.