Syntactic Features and the Limits of Syntactic Change

ISBN : 9780198832584

Johannes Gisli Jonsson; Thorhallur Eythorsson
368 ページ
153 x 234 mm
Oxford Studies in Diachronic and Historical Linguistics

This volume brings together the latest diachronic research on syntactic features and their role in restricting syntactic change. The chapters address a central theoretical issue in diachronic syntax: whether syntactic variation can always be attributed to differences in the features of items in the lexicon, as the Borer-Chomsky conjecture proposes. In answering this question, all the chapters develop analyses of syntactic change couched within a formalist framework in which rich hierarchical structures and abstract features of various kinds play an important role. The first three parts of the volume explore the different domains of the clause, namely the C-domain, the T-domain and the ?P/VP-domain respectively, while chapters in the final part are concerned with establishing methodology in diachronic syntax and modelling linguistic correspondences. The contributors draw on extensive data from a large number of languages and dialects, including several that have received little attention in the literature on diachronic syntax, such as Romeyka, a Greek variety spoken in Turkey, and Middle Low German, previously spoken in northern Germany. Other languages are explored from a fresh theoretical perspective, including Hungarian, Icelandic, and Austronesian languages. The volume sheds light not only on specific syntactic changes from a cross-linguistic perspective but also on broader issues in language change and linguistic theory.


1 Johannes Gisli Jonsson and Thorhallur Eythorsson: Introduction: Syntactic features and the limits of syntactic change
Part I: The Left Periphery
2 Julia Bacskai-Atkari: Degree semantics, polarity, and the grammaticalization of comparative operators into complementizers
3 Julia Bacskai-Atkari and Eva Dekany: Cyclic change in Hungarian relative clauses
4 Gabriela Alboiu and Virginia Hill: Diachronic change and feature instability: The cycles of Fin in Romanian obligatory control
5 Melissa Farasyn and Anne Breitbarth: Null subjects in Middle Low German: Diachronic stability and change
Part II: The T-domain
6 Chiara Gianollo: Feature reanalysis and the Latin origin of Romance Negative Concord
7 Hakyung Jung and Krzysztof Migdalski: Degrammaticalization of pronominal clitics in Slavic
8 Ioanna Sitaridou: (In)vulnerable inflected infinitives as complements to modals: Evidence from Galician and Romeyka
9 Lieven Danckaert: Assessing phonological correlates of syntactic change: The case of Late Latin weak BE
10 Elizabeth Cowper, Daniel Currie Hall, Bronwyn M. Bjorkman, Rebecca Tollan, and Neij Banerjee: Investigating the past of the futurate present
Part III: Case marking
11 Elena Anagnostopoulou and Christina Sevdali: From lexical to dependent: The case of the Greek dative
12 Edith Aldridge: The nature and origin of syntactic ergativity in Austronesian languages
13 Iris Edda Nowenstein and Anton Karl Ingason: Featural dynamics in morphosyntactic change
Part IV: Syntactic reconstruction
14 Katalin E. Kiss: Syntactic reconstruction based on linguistic fossils: Object-marking in Uralic
15 Mark Hale and Madelyn Kissock: Regular syntactic change and syntactic reconstruction


Johannes Gisli Jonsson is Professor of Icelandic Linguistics at the University of Iceland. His work focuses on theoretical and diachronic syntax, and particularly on case marking, passives, Object Shift, and the left periphery in Icelandic and Faroese. He is currently the principal investigator, along with Cherlon Ussery, of a research project exploring ditransitives in Island Scandinavian. ; Thorhallur Eythorsson is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Iceland. His main research interests lie in word order, cliticization, and verbal syntax in Germanic from a diachronic perspective; case, argument structure, and voice in Icelandic and other old and modern Germanic languages; the development of overt and covert pronominals, reflexives, and expletives in Icelandic; and prefixation in Germanic from a historical and comparative perspective.