Article published in:Convergence and Divergence in Language Contact Situations
Edited by Kurt Braunmüller and Juliane House
[Hamburg Studies on Multilingualism 8] 2009
► pp. 73–100
Converging languages, diverging varieties
Innovative relativisation patterns in Old Swedish
In the Late Middle Ages, when Old Swedish develops into a written language it acquires simultaneously several innovative syntactic features, such as new relativisation patterns. On the basis of an annotated digital corpus of Late Old Swedish texts, appositive relative clauses and the pronominal relativisation strategy are singled out as the typologically most salient innovations. In this contribution the author argues that the emergence of these features has to be explained as a grammatical replication of Latin features in a process of language Ausbau. Furthermore, it is argued that these changes affect only the emerging written variety of Old Swedish and mark the beginning of a medial split, with the written language converging towards Latin and diverging from the spoken varieties.
Published online: 12 November 2009