Converging languages, diverging varieties

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In the Late Middle Ages, when Old Swedish develops into a written language it acquires simultaneously several innovative syntactic features, such as new relativisation patterns. On the basis of an annotated digital corpus of Late Old Swedish texts, appositive relative clauses and the pronominal relativisation strategy are singled out as the typologically most salient innovations. In this contribution the author argues that the emergence of these features has to be explained as a grammatical replication of Latin features in a process of language <i>Ausbau</i>. Furthermore, it is argued that these changes affect only the emerging written variety of Old Swedish and mark the beginning of a medial split, with the written language converging towards Latin and diverging from the spoken varieties.


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