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Word Order Change in Icelandic

From OV to VO

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Abstract

While Modern Icelandic exhibits a virtually uniform VO order in the VP, Old(er) Icelandic had both VO order and OV order, as well as ‘mixed’ word order patterns. In this volume, the author both examines the various VP-word order patterns from a descriptive and statistical point of view and provides a synchronic and diachronic analysis of VP-syntax in Old(er) Icelandic in terms of generative grammar. Her account makes use of a number of independently motivated ideas, notably remnant-movement of various kinds of predicative phrase, and the long movement associated with “restructuring” phenomena, to provide an analysis of OV orders and, correspondingly, a proposal as to which aspect of Icelandic syntax must have changed when VO word order became the norm: the essential change is loss of VP-extraction from VP. Although this idea is mainly supported here for Icelandic, it has numerous implications for the synchronic and diachronic analysis of other Germanic languages.

Subjects: Generative linguistics; Historical linguistics; Syntax; Germanic linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Tromsø

References

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