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The diachrony of pronouns and demonstratives

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Abstract

This paper provides a description and account of some of the changes involving the DP, namely anaphoric marking in English (and Scandinavian). I argue that Old English personal pronouns are not deictic/referential but that demonstrative pronouns have this function. This situation reverses itself in early Middle English, due to both internal and external factors. The internal factors are the shift towards the use of demonstratives before noun, i.e. the introduction of an article; the external factors are language contact that introduces new personal pronouns. I also look at Old Norse where the use of pronouns and demonstratives is similar to that in Old English. This remains the case to a lesser degree in its modern descendants.

References

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