On the structure and development of nominal phrases in Norwegian

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The suffixed definite article in Modern Norwegian developed from a clitic in Old Norse. Such a change creates interesting theoretical questions as to how we can account for this difference in phrase structural terms, and how such a change manifests itself. This paper discusses exactly this question and argues that this change can be viewed as grammaticalization “down the tree” from a high D head to a low <i>n </i>head. Furthermore, it argues that functional categories, like the definiteness category, are non-universal. That is, they are not part of Universal Grammar, but only arise when the child discovers them in the input. The paper also addresses some movement puzzles emerging in Old Norse and Modern Icelandic which have remained a theoretical puzzle. I will propose an analysis of this where I argue that we need to separate Modern Icelandic and Old Norse and thus give two separate analyses.


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