Old Northumbrian Verbal Morphosyntax and the (Northern) Subject Rule

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This volume provides both a quantitative statistical and qualitative analysis of Late Northumbrian verbal morphosyntax as recorded in the Old English interlinear gloss to the <i>Lindisfarne Gospels</i>. It focuses in particular on the attestation of the subject type and adjacency constraints that characterise the so-called Northern Subject Rule concord system. The study presents new evidence which challenges the traditional Early Middle English dating attributed to the emergence of subject-type concord in the North of England and demonstrates that the syntactic configuration of the Northern Subject Rule was already a feature of Old English. By setting the Northumbrian developments within a broad framework of diachronic and diatopic variation, in which manifestations of subject-type concord are explored in a wide range of varieties of English, the author argues that a concord system based on subject type rather than person/number features is in fact a far less local and more universal tendency in English than previously believed.

Subjects: Theoretical linguistics; English linguistics; Historical linguistics; Syntax; Germanic linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: Leiden University

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