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Investigating Anglo-Norman Influence on Late Middle English Syntax

Published in R. Ingham. The Anglo-Norman Language and Its Context. York: York Medieval Press. 2010, p. 143-163
Abstract This paper focuses on some word order developments in the Middle English (ME) period and explores the question whether these developments might have been influenced by contact with Anglo-Norman and/or continental French. The issues to be considered are related to what has generally been referred to (somewhat misleadingly) as the Verb Second (V2) phenomenon. As extensively discussed in the literature, Old English (OE) exhibits frequent subject-verb inversion when a non-subject is in clause-initial position. Such word orders are reminiscent of the V2 phenomenon as found in all the modern Germanic languages with the exception of present-day English. In the Middle English period, the OE subject-verb inversion syntax is lost to a large extent, but the development exhibits certain peculiarities that have remained unexplained. The aim of this article is to consider whether some or all of these peculiarities could be related to Anglo-Norman/French influence. It is argued that for three of the four phenomena examined, contact with Anglo-Norman/French may have played a role whereas such an account seems less likely for the fourth issue.
Keywords AdverbsEarly Middle EnglishNegationObject scramblingVerb movement
ISBN: 9781903153307
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HAEBERLI, Eric. Investigating Anglo-Norman Influence on Late Middle English Syntax. In: R. Ingham (Ed.). The Anglo-Norman Language and Its Context. York : York Medieval Press, 2010. p. 143-163. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:75239

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Deposited on : 2015-09-18

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