Verbs and Diachronic Syntax: A Comparative History of English and French

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Springer Science & Business Media, 1993 - Foreign Language Study - 373 pages
This book analyses the development of a number of English and French constructions involving various kinds of subject-verb inversion. The analysis is framed in terms of the principles-and-parameters approach to syntactic theory, and provides strong support for the adoption of this approach in the description and explanation of language change. The book falls into three parts. The first presents an overall framework for the analysis of inversion constructions and motivates, on the basis of synchronic data, several parameters which distinguish among the various Romance and Germanic languages. The second part shows how several near-simultaneous syntactic changes in the history of French can be explained as a change in one of the parameters introduced in Chapter One. A notable aspect of this analysis is the way in which the distribution of null subjects is shown to relate to verb-placement. The third part of the book treats verb-movement in the history of English, arguing in detail that the attested changes in this area are due to a change in the internal structure of `Infl', a proposal which has important ramifications for the theory of functional heads. Throughout the book, emphasis is placed on the theoretical questions raised by language change. In this connection the two notions of diachronic reanalysis and parametric change are distinguished. Verbs and Diachronic Syntax will interest all theoretical linguists as well as specialists in the history of English, history of French, Germanic philology and Romance philology.
 

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Contents

II
1
III
8
IV
17
V
29
VII
35
VIII
43
IX
52
X
64
XXXI
197
XXXII
204
XXXIII
216
XXXIV
217
XXXV
219
XXXVI
220
XXXVII
224
XXXVIII
226

XI
75
XII
81
XIII
87
XIV
88
XV
94
XVI
103
XVII
110
XVIII
111
XIX
117
XX
123
XXI
132
XXII
142
XXIII
144
XXIV
153
XXV
160
XXVI
166
XXVII
177
XXVIII
186
XXIX
187
XXX
189
XXXIX
228
XL
238
XLI
246
XLIII
255
XLIV
263
XLV
274
XLVI
276
XLVII
282
XLVIII
292
XLIX
299
L
309
LI
310
LII
318
LIII
326
LIV
332
LV
341
LVI
343
LVII
355
LVIII
359
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