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Grammatical ChangeOrigins, Nature, Outcomes$
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Dianne Jonas, John Whitman, and Andrew Garrett

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199582624

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582624.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 October 2021

Subjects in early English: syntactic change as gradual constraint reranking

Subjects in early English: syntactic change as gradual constraint reranking

(p.256) 13 Subjects in early English: syntactic change as gradual constraint reranking
Grammatical Change

Brady Clark

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a comprehensive analysis of change in the syntax of early English subjects within the framework of Stochastic Optimality Theory (StOT). It shows that positional discrepancies between subject pronouns and full noun phrase (NP) subjects in Old English (OE) and early Middle English (EME) can be accounted for if pronouns are non-projecting (do not project to a maximal phrase) and appear in the IP domain, whereas full NP subjects can appear in Spec,VP or Spec,IP. The structure of the chapter is as follows. After stating some preliminary assumptions about early English syntax, the chapter presents an analysis of subjects that accounts for the positional discrepancies between full NP subjects and subject pronouns. Next, it shows that StOT, given the theory of syntax embodied by the constraint set, provides an illuminating model of change in the syntax of subjects in OE and ME.

Keywords:   Stochastic Optimality Theory, syntactic change, Old English, early Middle English

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