Clause Type Asymmetries in Old English and the Syntax of Verb Movement [chapter]

2005 Grammaticalization and Parametric Variation  
Old English (OE) exhibits main clause / subordinate clause word order asymmetries comparable to those found in modern West Germanic languages such as Dutch or German. Finite verbs generally occur near the beginning of a main clause whereas they tend to occur towards the end of subordinate clauses. Furthermore (in contrast to modern West Germanic), it has been observed that conjoined main clauses often have subordinate clause word order in OE. This chapter addresses the question of how these
more » ... se type asymmetries can be accounted for. Section 1 presents the main word order properties of OE and some quantitative data concerning the distribution of finite verbs in different types of clauses. Recent proposals for the structural analysis of the OE word order patterns are presented in section 2, and some problems for the treatment of subordinate clauses are discussed. Section 3 presents a solution to these problems in terms of Bobaljik and Thráinsson's (1998) analysis of verb movement in modern Germanic. The remainder of the paper then explores some consequences of this approach with respect to the analysis of conjoined clauses and the development of verb movement in the history of English.
doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272129.003.0016 fatcat:uxazezvfknby7fyikneyt4mssy