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Syntax over TimeLexical, Morphological, and Information-Structural Interactions$
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Theresa Biberauer and George Walkden

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687923.001.0001

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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

The decline of Latin left-peripheral presentational foci: Causes and consequences

The decline of Latin left-peripheral presentational foci: Causes and consequences

Chapter:
(p.265) 16 The decline of Latin left-peripheral presentational foci: Causes and consequences
Source:
Syntax over Time
Author(s):

Lieven Danckaert

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687923.003.0016

This chapter is concerned with the syntax and diachronic evolution of a particular focalization strategy in Latin, which involves displacement of presentational foci to the clausal left periphery. On the basis of a large‐scale corpus study, it is shown that this phenomenon starts to decline around the first half of the first century AD. It is suggested that this evolution is related to another syntactic change that took place in the same period, namely a decreasing frequency of verb‐final sentences. It is argued that both the predominant SOV word order of Latin and the occurrence of presentational foci in the left periphery can be accounted for by assuming that the entire vP is moved to the middle field, to a position higher than the tense phrase. Finally, the loss of vP movement can explain both of the aforementioned syntactic changes.

Keywords:   Latin, left periphery, focalization, word order, directionality of complementation

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