Competitive Indo-European syntax

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In the following article I will analyse the different constructions of embedded object clauses in the older Indo-European languages. In quite a lot of modern Indo-European languages the standard realisation of the sentential object clause is a finite subordinate clause introduced by a complementizer corresponding to the English conjunction <i>that</i>. In contrast, in some of the older Indo-European languages, this construction is only rarely attested, e.g., in Vedic, and a variety of structures without that-complementizer are used instead (“that-clause competitors”). By cross-linguistic comparison I will reconstruct that two object clause constructions were part of the Proto-Indo-European syntactic structure and that one of them, the explicative clause, can be considered as the predecessor of the modern finite that-object clauses. Furthermore I will show how the relational element of the explicative clause, a <i>wh</i>-operator corresponding to English <i>which</i>, could change to a complementizer element like that.


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