Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Academic Paper

Title: On the givenness of OV word order: a (re)examination of OV/VO variation in Old English
Author: Tara Struik
Author: Ans Kemenade
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: OV/VO variation in the history of English has been a long-debated issue. Where earlier approaches were concerned with the grammatical status of the variation (see van Kemenade 1987; Pintzuk 1999 and many others), the debate has shifted more recently to explaining the variation from a pragmatic perspective (see Bech 2001; Taylor & Pintzuk 2012a), focusing on the given-before-new hypothesis (Gundel 1988) and its consequences for OV/VO. While the work by Taylor & Pintzuk (2012a) focuses specifically on the newness of VO orders, the present study is particularly concerned with the givenness of OV word order. It is hypothesized that OV orders are the result of leftward movement from VO orders, triggered by givenness. A corpus study on a database of subclauses with two verbs and a direct object, collected from the YCOE (Taylor et al.2003) corpus, and subsequent multinomial regression analysis within a generalized linear mixed model shows that OV word order is reserved for given objects, while VO objects are much more mixed in terms of information structure. We argue that these results are more in line with an analysis which derives all occurring word orders from a VO base than an analysis which proposes the opposite.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 24, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

Return to TOC.

View the full article for free in the current issue of
Cambridge Extra Magazine!
Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page