The rise of peripheral modifiers in the noun phrase

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As is not always recognised in the scholarly literature, the template of the noun phrase (<sc>np/dp</sc>) in Dutch and English contains a slot for peripheral modifiers, which precedes the determiner slot and hosts adverbial modifiers. In this article I argue that this slot is of recent date &#8212;it is an Early Modern Dutch and Early Modern English innovation, probably as a result of a reanalysis process&#8212; and that it has steadily been on the increase, both on the token level and on the type level. The analysis is based on historical corpus data. On a theoretical note, the present study shows that the <sc>np</sc> slot should not be viewed as a fixed, stable constellation, but can change over time.


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