Article

Stress clash and word order changes in the left periphery in Old English and Middle English

Augustin Speyer

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/9780199922765.013.0071

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Stress clash and word order changes in the left periphery in Old English and Middle English

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

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Syntactic change can result from both external and internal factors. Internal factors refer to the reaction of grammatical constraints on seemingly unrelated changes in other parts of the grammar; such interactions can offer important insights into the interplay of various components of grammar. This article describes a case of the interaction of constraints from different components that seem to be unrelated to one another. The first is a phonological constraint (dubbed in the text Clash Avoidance Requirement (CAR)) that is basically “dormant” in Old English and becomes “virulent” in Middle English. The second is the loss of verb-second (V2) syntax, a syntactic change that at first glance has nothing to do with phonology. CAR causes a decline in topicalization in sentences with full noun phrase subject.

Keywords: syntactic change; grammar; grammatical constraints; Old English; Middle English; verb-second; syntax; phonology; noun phrase; Clash Avoidance Requirement; information structure; linguistics

Article.  3980 words. 

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

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