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Language Change and Linguistic Theory, Volume IIMorphological, Syntactic, and Typological Change$
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D. Gary Miller

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583430.001.0001

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Syntactic Change

Syntactic Change

(p.230) 9 Syntactic Change
Language Change and Linguistic Theory, Volume II

D. Gary Miller (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Differences in syntactic projection result from changes in lexical features, e.g. by reanalysis. In West Greenlandic factives, subject‐to‐object raising was lost along with the Agree relation that accompanied the edge/EPP feature. Factives also figure prominently in the reanalysis of Latin quod ‘which; because’ to a complementizer ‘that’. Copular deontics originate as passives. In Latin and English, the nominative/accusative case ambiguity of neuters permitted reanalysis to active structures. With non‐neuters, the passive was retained in English and took the new passive infinitive. English preposition doubling (the teacher to whom I gave the book to) is a hypercorrection formalized as failure of copy‐remnant deletion. Split ergativity in Pašto and the Northern Group of Kurdish evolved from frequent use of the perfect passive with an agent phrase that had (quirky) subject properties since Old Persian. The predilection for nominalizations in the Eskimo‐Aleut family is responsible for several chronological layers of ergativity.

Keywords:   syntactic projection, reanalysis, West Greenlandic, factives, hypercorrection, preposition doubling, Eskimo‐Aleut, ergativity

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