Syntactic Change

D. Gary Miller

in Language Change and Linguistic Theory, Volume II

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199583430
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595288 | DOI:
Syntactic Change

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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

Chapter.  13995 words. 

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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