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LINGUIST List 20.3169

Sat Sep 19 2009

Books: Historical Ling/Syntax: Cloutier

Editor for this issue: Hannah Morales <hannahlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    MariĆ«tte Bonenkamp, West Germanic OV and VO: Cloutier

Message 1: West Germanic OV and VO: Cloutier
Date: 15-Sep-2009
From: Mariƫtte Bonenkamp <lotuu.nl>
Subject: West Germanic OV and VO: Cloutier
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Title: West Germanic OV and VO
Subtitle: The Status of Exceptions
Series Title: LOT Dissertation Series
Published: 2009
Publisher: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke - LOT

Author: Robert Allen Cloutier
Paperback: ISBN: 0097890783 Pages: Price: ----

Traditionally, the oldest stages of the West Germanic languages have been
characterized as OV languages despite the rather frequent occurrence of VO
orders in these oldest stages. This project evaluates three approaches to
analyzing the free word order patterns of the oldest (West) Germanic
languages, namely construction-specific, construction-related, and
competing grammars. The first two assume one underlying word order and
differ from one another in how they account for deviations from this word
order: construction-specific approaches rely on various factors such as
heaviness or newness to explain extraposition while construction-related
approaches attribute word order variation to one particular feature such as
morphology. The competing grammars approach differs from the other two by
assuming two underlying word orders. The historical development of three
particular constructions in the history of Dutch and English are examined,
namely prepositional phrases of direction (directional phrases), objects
modified by relative clauses (relative objects), and objects of naming
verbs (naming objects), to test these hypotheses. These constructions were
chosen on the basis of the literature on word order phenomena in Dutch and
provide a novel way to approach the English data. The position of the
relevant constituent with respect to the verb is examined along with its
heaviness and newness, two factors that are often cited as having an effect
on the position of sentential elements. The conclusion of the study is that
the best way to analyze the evolving syntax of Dutch is with a combination
of construction-specific and construction-related approaches and that of
English can best be described with a combination of all three approaches.

This study is of interest to linguists interested in historical
linguistics, corpus linguistics, the Germanic languages, and syntactic
change, particularly that of the West Germanic languages Dutch and English.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Dutch (nld)
                            English (eng)

Written In: English (eng )

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