Subject-verb inversion in 13th century German and French

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The present study examines whether subject-verb inversion in Old French is similarly conditioned to its counterpart in Middle High German. In the generative literature, inversion in Old French has often been ascribed to a verb second (V2) property, possibly as a result of language contact with Germanic. Using corpus data from the 13th century, this study compared the most and the least favorable contexts for inversion in Old French and Middle High German. A variable rule analysis of the data reveals some important differences between the two languages. This challenges the view that inversion in Old French is generated by the same grammatical system as inversion in V2 languages.


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