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The syntax and semantics of the temporal anaphor “then” in Old and Middle English

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Abstract

The fact that <i>&#254;a/&#254;onne</i> &#8216;then&#8217; trigger V2 in OE is commonly accounted for by assuming that these adverbs are operators that trigger V-to-C movement. This paper presents an alternative analysis based on the observation that <i>&#254;a/&#254;onne</i> and pronouns are in complementary distribution in preverbal position. We identify this position as SpecTP, arguing that OE was a discourseconfigurational language where SpecTP was linked to the discourse anchoring of anaphoric/deictic expressions, including pronouns and temporal anaphora such as <i>&#254;a/&#254;onne</i>. Under these assumptions, V2 with these temporal adverbs results from a spec-head relationship in TP. The loss of V2 in the ME period is then attributed to the independent development of a (subject-oriented) EPP-feature in TP and the overall loss of discourse-configurationality.

References

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