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New from Oxford University Press!


It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Book Information


Title: Topicalization and Stress Clash Avoidance in the History of English
Written By: Augustin Speyer
Series Title: Topics in English Linguistics [TiEL] 69

The book is concerned with the interaction of syntax, information structure
and prosody in the history of English, demonstrating this with a case study
of object topicalization. The approach is data-oriented, using material
from syntactically parsed digital corpora of Old, Middle and Early Modern
English, which serve as a solid foundation for conclusions.

The use of object topicalization underwent a sharp decline from Old English
until today. In the present volume, a basic prosodic well-formedness
condition, the Clash Avoidance Requirement, is identified as the main
factor for this change. With the loss of V2-syntax, object topicalization
led more easily to cases in which two focalized phrases, the topicalized
object and the subject, are adjacent. The two focal accents on these
phrases would produce a clash, thus violating the Clash Avoidance
Requirement. In order to circumvent this, the use of topicalization in
critical cases is avoided.

The Clash Avoidance Requirement is highly relevant also today, as
experimental data on English and German show. Further, the Clash Avoidance
Requirement helps to explain the well-known syntactic structure of the left
periphery in Old English. An analysis positing two subject positions is
defended in the study. The variation of these subject positions is shown to
depend not on pronominal vs. lexical status of the subject but on
information structural properties.

Publication Year: 2010
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
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BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
Historical Linguistics
Language Change
Subject Language(s): English
English, Old
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Format: Electronic
ISBN-13: 9783110220247
Pages: 286
Prices: Europe EURO 89.95
Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9783110220230
Pages: 286
Prices: Europe EURO 89.95