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Changing EPP parameters in the history of English: accounting for variation and change

  • THERESA BIBERAUER (a1) and IAN ROBERTS (a1)

Abstract

This article presents a novel ‘Kaynian’ analysis of Old and Middle English (OE and ME) word-order patterns in terms of which the patterns attested at the various stages of OE and ME are analysed as the output of a single grammar which, however, permits restricted types of variation. We propose that the West Germanic-like OE word orders were derived via the application of two types of ‘large XP’ movement – VP raising to SpecvP and vP raising to SpecTP – which are in fact pied-piping operations: in both cases, a DP contained within VP and vP – the object and the subject respectively – constitutes the actual Goal of movement, with the larger structure simply being pied piped along. Orders unlike West Germanic in both OE and ME, and synchronic variation more generally, are shown to be derived from the side-by-side availability in the OE and ME grammar of pied piping and ‘stranding’, and the word-order changes that occurred in ME are analysed as the consequence of a reanalysis of the ever more liberal ‘stranding’-permitting pied-piping grammar as one which specifically targets DPs.

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Earlier versions of the ideas discussed in this article were presented at a workshop on Null Subjects held at the University of Cambridge (February 2003), the Conference on Null Subjects and Parametric Variation held in Reykjavik (July 2003), the Conference on Comparative Diachronic Syntax in Leiden (August 2003), the Comparative Germanic Syntax Workshop (CGSW18) held in Durham (September 2003) and the Diachronic Generative Syntax (DIGS VIII) conference held at Yale (June 2004). We thank the audiences at these conferences for their input, in particular Ans van Kemenade, Sabine Mohr, Davita Morgan, Susan Pintzuk, Wim van der Wurff, and Jan-Wouter Zwart. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their detailed comments and suggestions. The usual disclaimers apply. We also acknowledge the financial support of the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AR14458).

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Changing EPP parameters in the history of English: accounting for variation and change

  • THERESA BIBERAUER (a1) and IAN ROBERTS (a1)

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