Article

The interaction between syntax, information structure, and prosody in word order change

Roland Hinterhölzl and Ans van Kemenade

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of English

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199922765
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199922765.013.0066

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 The interaction between syntax, information structure, and prosody in word order change

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  • Linguistics
  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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This article explores the role of information structure (IS), syntax, and prosody in accounting for word order variation and change in the history of the English language. First discussing the theoretical problems involved in the study of the interaction between these components of grammar, it goes on to embed changes in the history of English in a wider picture of developments in the Germanic languages. Word order variation is similar in Old English and Old High German, but the two languages subsequently diverge into different directions. This article therefore compares the major word order changes of English, namely the loss of OV-orders and the loss of V2 in (non-negative) declarative clauses, with the generalization of V2 and the loss of VO-orders in the history of German. It argues for considering IS to be part of grammar, and it fosters the functionalist approach to the interaction between grammar and pragmatics, albeit from a formal syntactic perspective.

Keywords: information structure; syntax; prosody; word order; variation; history; English; Germanic; declarative clauses; grammar; pragmatics

Article.  7747 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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