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Diachronic Syntax

Models and Mechanisms



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Diachronic Syntax
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Historical syntax occupies a pivotal position within the larger field of research into the nature, use, and acquisition of language. It is responsive to theoretical advances in linguistic theory, language acquisition, and theories of language use, as well as to less adjacent fields such as statistical techniques and evolutionary biology. Linguistic theory has undergone deep changes since the early 1990s, given the widespread impact of Chomsky's Minimalist Programme, Kayne's Antisymmetry Theory, and Kayne's Theory of Overt Movement. This work has brought into sharper focus questions concerning the architecture of linguistic theory that have a direct impact on our understanding of the process of change. At the same time, the recently developed framework of Optimality Theory, which has had a major influence in phonology, is beginning to provide new insights and raise new questions as it is applied to syntax and historical change. This collection of new writing by largely generative-based syntacticians advances this work. This book contains selected material from the Fifth Diachronic Generative Syntax Conference (DIGS 5) held in 1998. The chapters have been chosen to reflect developments in the study of language change and variation, and to exemplify work in a wide range of languages, including Germanic, Romance, Celtic, Slavic, and Sinitic. The book is divided into parts dealing with theoretical frameworks, comparative change, features and categories, and movement. A substantial opening chapter by the editors provides a critical overview of the subject and introduces the following chapters.

Author Biography

Susan Pintzuk is Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of York. She has research interests in syntactic variation and change in the history of English and other Germanic languages. She is currently working on a research project on the syntax of Old English poetry and (with Anthony Warner and Ann Taylor) the York-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Old English. She has published articles on Old English syntax; Phrase Structures in Competition: Variation and Change in Old English Word Order (Garland, 1999); and (with David Adger, Bernadette Plunkett, and George Tsoulas) Specifiers: Minimalist Approaches (OUP, 1999). George Tsoulas is Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of York. He has published articles on the interpretation of pronouns and the syntax of non-finite sentential complementation. His recent research is concerned with the formal theory of quantification, the syntax and semantics of pronominal anaphora, and the syntax of scrambling and multiple subject constructions in Korean and Japanese. He has edited (with David Adger, Bernadette Plunkett, and Susan Pintzuk) Specifiers: Minimalist Approaches (OUP, 1999). Anthony Warner is Professor of English Linguistics at the University of York. He has a major interest in variation and change in the history of English syntax. He is the author of papers in syntactic change and in phrase structure grammar, and of Complementation in Middle English and the Methodology of Historical Syntax (Croom Helm, 1982), and English Auxiliaries: Structure and History (CUP, 1993).
Release date NZ
March 1st, 2001
Edited by Anthony Warner Edited by George Tsoulas Edited by Susan Pintzuk
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
linguistic tree diagrams
Oxford University Press
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