Principles of syntactic reconstruction and "morphology as paleosyntax": The case of some Indo-European secondary verbal formations

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The problem of syntactic reconstruction is addressed from the point of view of an Indo-Europeanist. After a short overview over the approaches to syntactic reconstruction in the field of Indo-European linguistics in the last 50 years, the article focuses on the “morphology-as-paleosyntax-method”. This approach assumes that by going backwards on the grammaticalization path from attested synthetic formations one can at least sometimes arrive at the unattested analytic formations underlying the synthetic ones. This is exemplified by way of some Indo-European secondary tense formations for which an analytic origin has been discussed. Unfortunately the idea has some serious drawbacks so that it cannot be made as plausible as one would wish. On the other hand it may be hoped that future research will yield more and resilient results also in the field of Proto-Indo-European syntax.


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