Scientific article
Open access

Structural Variation in Old English Root Clauses

Published inLanguage variation and change, vol. 20, p. 367-407
Publication date2008

A standard observation concerning basic constituent order in Old English (OE) is that the position of finite verbs varies by clause type. In root clauses, the finite verb tends to occur towards the beginning of the clause and we frequently find Verb Second (V2) order. In contrast, in subordinate clauses finite verbs generally occur towards the end of the clause, and these clauses are frequently verb-final. In this article we challenge the traditional assumption that verb-final orders and, hence, the occurrence of the finite verb in a head-final structural position are rare in OE root clauses. We present new data demonstrating that the frequency of head-final structure in OE root clauses is much higher than previously acknowledged. We then explore some of the implications of this finding for the general structural analysis of OE.

  • Head-final structure
  • Negative object
  • Particle
  • Pronominal object
  • Root clause
  • Stranded preposition
  • Old English
Citation (ISO format)
HAEBERLI, Eric, PINTZUK, Susan. Structural Variation in Old English Root Clauses. In: Language variation and change, 2008, vol. 20, p. 367–407.
Main files (1)
Article (Accepted version)
  • PID : unige:75052
ISSN of the journal0954-3945

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