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Misparsing and syntactic reanalysis

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Abstract

This paper argues that syntactic misparsing is not a significant factor in syntactic change, contrary to many earlier claims. It examines the best known examples in the literature of syntactic change resulting from alleged misparsing, and shows that the misparsing analysis is rejected in the most current research, or at best subject to alternative explanations. Cases discussed include SVO word order in Niger-Congo, the Chinese <i>b&#462;</i> construction, and English <i>for</i> NP <i>to</i> VP infinitives. The paper concludes with a brief comparison of the roles of misparsing, broadly construed, in syntactic and phonological change.

References

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