Chapter

Why a Determiner? The Possessive + Determiner + Adjective Construction in Old English

Cynthia L. Allen

in Information Structure and Syntactic Change in the History of English

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860210
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949601 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860210.003.0011

Series: Oxford Studies in the History of English

Why a Determiner? The Possessive + Determiner + Adjective Construction in Old English

Show Summary Details

Preview

There is debate on the existence of a determiner (as opposed to specifically demonstrative) category in Old English. A major reason for this is the fact that determiners could co-occur with possessives in this early stage. This chapter reports some results from an investigation into the properties of one of the constructions where such co-occurrence is found and shows that a consideration of information structure is essential in any attempt to understand its use. It begins with a comparison of two possible combinations of possessives and determiners in Old English generally. In the first, the determiner precedes the possessive; and in the second the possessive precedes the determiner, and there is always an adjective present. The chapter focuses on a comparison of this second Poss(essive) + Det(erminer) + Adj(ective) sequence (Poss Det Adj) and the factors which favored its use instead of the Poss(essive) + Adj(ective) combination, in which no determiner accompanies the possessive (Poss Adj).

Keywords: determiners; Old English; possessives; information structure; adjective

Chapter.  13931 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.