LINGUIST List 9.1604

Sat Nov 14 1998

Books: Lang Change & Syntax

Editor for this issue: Scott Fults <>

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  1. Damon Zucca, Phrase Structures in Competition: Variation and Change in Old Eng

Message 1: Phrase Structures in Competition: Variation and Change in Old Eng

Date: 11 Nov 98 13:46:25 -0500
From: Damon Zucca <>
Subject: Phrase Structures in Competition: Variation and Change in Old Eng

Pintzuk, Susan; Phrase Structures in Competition: Variation and Change
in Old English Word Order; 0-8153-3269-6, cloth; pages 285, $63;
Garland Publishing; Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics

This book investigates variation and change in Old English word order,
with special emphasis on the position of the verb. It is argued that
variation in surface word order is primarily a reflex of synchronic
variation in underlying structure, head-initial vs. head-final. In
particular, variation in the position of the verb is best explained by
an analysis of competing head-initial and head-final structure within
both VP and IP, with obligatory movement of the finite verb to
I. Together with processes of postposition, cliticization, and further
verb movement from I to C in a restricted set of exceptional clause
types, this derives the attested word order patterns of Old
English. The verb-second phenomenon in Old English can then be seen to
involve verb movement to clause-medial I in both main and subordinate
clauses, as in Yiddish and Icelandic, rather than verb movement to C
in main clauses only, as in German and Dutch.

	The structural analysis is proposed on the basis of standard
distributional tests used in formal syntactic theory. This structural
analysis is then further supported by quantitative evidence using
methodology adapted from sociolinguistic approaches to language
variation and change. It is demonstrated that the frequency of
I-initial structure increases during the Old English period at the
same rate in both main and subordinate clauses, supporting the
hypothesis of identical structures and processes in the two clause

	This book with be of interest to scholars in the areas of Old
English syntax, Germanic syntax, and syntactic variation and change.

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1998 Contributors

  • Addison Wesley Longman
  • Blackwell Publishers
  • Cambridge University Press
  • CSLI Publications
  • Edinburgh University Press
  • Garland Publishing
  • Holland Academic Graphics (HAG)
  • John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc.
  • MIT Press--Books Division
  • MIT Working Papers in Linguistics
  • Mouton de Gruyter
  • Oxford University Press
  • Francais Pratique
  • Hermes
  • Pacific Linguistics
  • Routledge
  • Summer Institute of Linguistics