Article published in:English Historical Linguistics 2006: Selected papers from the fourteenth International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL 14), Bergamo, 21–25 August 2006. Volume I: Syntax and Morphology
Edited by Maurizio Gotti, Marina Dossena and Richard Dury
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 295] 2008
► pp. 3–21
The balance between syntax and discourse in Old English
Old English morpho-syntax allows a degree of word order flexibility that is exploited by discourse strategies. Key elements here are: adverbs functioning as discourse partitioners, and a wider range of pronominal elements, extending the number of strategies for anaphoric reference. The syntactic effect is an extended range of subject and object positions, which are exploited for discourse flexibility. In particular, a class of high adverbs, including primarily þa “then” and þonne “then”, define on their left an area in which discourse-(linked) elements occur, including a range of pronouns, but also definite nominal subjects. The latter occur here because the Old English weak demonstrative pronouns that serve to mark definiteness also allow specific anaphoric reference to a discourse antecedent. We also develop a model of quantitative analysis that brings out the relationship between the narrowly circumscribed syntactic system and the relative diffuseness of the discourse referential facts.
Published online: 09 July 2008
Cited by 4 other publications
No author info given
Links, Meta, Ans van Kemenade & Stefan Grondelaers
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