Search results for: referential-null-subjects-in-early-english

Referential Null Subjects in Early English

Author : Kristian A. Rusten
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This book offers a large-scale quantitative investigation of referential null subjects as they occur in Old, Middle, and Early Modern English. Using corpus linguistic methods, and drawing on five corpora of early English, it empirically examines the occurrence of subjectless finite clauses in more than 500 early English texts, spanning nearly 850 years. On the basis of this substantial data, Kristian A. Rusten re-evaluates previous conflicting claims concerning the occurrence and distribution of null subjects in Old English. He explores the question of whether the earliest stage of English can be considered a canonical or partial pro-drop language, and provides an empirical examination of the role played by central licensors of null subjects proposed in the theoretical literature. The predictions of two important pragmatic accounts of null arguments are also tested. Throughout, the book builds its arguments primarily by means of powerful statistical tools, including generalized fixed-effects and mixed-effects logistic regression modelling. The volume is the most comprehensive examination of null subjects in the history of English to date, and will be of interest to syntacticians, historical linguists, and those working in English and Germanic linguistics more widely.

Norwegian Discourse Ellipsis

Author : Mari Nygård
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This book develops a grammar model which accounts for discourse ellipses in spoken Norwegian. This is a previously unexplored area, which has also been sparsely investigated internationally. The model takes an exoskeletal view, where lexical items are inserted late and where syntactic structure is generated independently of lexical items. Two major questions are addressed. Firstly, is there active syntactic structure in the ellipsis site? Secondly, how are discourse ellipses licensed? It is argued that both structural and semantic restrictions are required to account for the empirical patterns. Discourse ellipses can be seen as a contextual adaptation. Ellipsis is only possible in certain contexts. The existence of ellipsis may lead to the impression that syntax is partly destroyed. However, the analysis shows that narrow syntax is not affected. The underlying structure stays intact, as the licensing restrictions concern only phonological realization. Hence, the grammar of discourse ellipses is best characterized as an interface phenomenon.

Dative External Possessors in Early English

Author : Cynthia L. Allen
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This volume is the first systematic, corpus-based examination of dative external possessors in Old and Early Middle English and their diachronic development. Modern English is unusual among European languages in not having a productive dative external possessor construction, whereby the possessor is in the dative case and behaves like an element of the sentence rather than part of the possessive phrase. This type of construction was found in Old English, however, especially in expressions of inalienable possession; it appeared in variation with the internal possessors in the genitive case, which then became the only productive possibility in Middle English. In this book, Cynthia Allen traces the use of dative external possessors in the texts of the Old and early Middle English periods and explores how the empirical data fit with the hypotheses put forward to date. She draws on recent developments in linguistic theory to evaluate both language-internal explanations for the loss of the dative construction and the possible role of language contact, especially with the Brythonic Celtic languages. The book will be of interest to students and researchers in the fields of historical syntax and morphology, language variation and change, and the comparative syntax of the Germanic languages.

Quantitative Historical Linguistics

Author : Gard B. Jenset
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This book is an innovative guide to quantitative, corpus-based research in historical and diachronic linguistics. Gard B. Jenset and Barbara McGillivray argue that, although historical linguistics has been successful in using the comparative method, the field lags behind other branches of linguistics with respect to adopting quantitative methods. Here they provide a theoretically agnostic description of a new framework for quantitatively assessing models and hypotheses in historical linguistics, based on corpus data and using case studies to illustrate how this framework can answer research questions in historical linguistics. The authors offer an in-depth explanation and discussion of the benefits of working with quantitative methods, corpus data, and corpus annotation, and the advantages of open and reproducible research. The book will be a valuable resource for graduate students and researchers in historical linguistics, as well as for all those working with linguistic corpora.

The Handbook of Spanish Second Language Acquisition

Author : Kimberly L. Geeslin
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Bringing together a comprehensive collection of newly-commissioned articles, this Handbook covers the most recent developments across a range of sub-fields relevant to the study of second language Spanish. Provides a unique and much-needed collection of new research in this subject, compiled and written by experts in the field Offers a critical account of the most current, ground-breaking developments across key fields, each of which has seen innovative empirical research in the past decade Covers a broad range of issues including current theoretical approaches, alongside a variety of entries within such areas as the sound system, morphosyntax, individual and social factors, and instructed language learning Presents a variety of methodological approaches spanning the active areas of research in language acquisition

Acquisition at the Interfaces

Author : Roberta Tedeschi
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The Acquisition of Scrambling and Cliticization

Author : S.M. Powers
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This collection of papers investigates two specific linguistic phenomena from the point of view of first- and second-language acquisition. While observations on the acquisition of scrambling or pronominal clitics can be found in the literature, up until the recent past they were sparse and often buried in other issues. This volume fills a long-existing gap in providing a collection of articles which focus on language acquisition but at the same time address the overarching syntactic issues involved (for example, the X-bar status of clitics, base-generation vs. movement accounts of scrambling). This volume contains an overview of L1 (and, in one case, L2) acquisition data from a number of different languages including Bernese, Swiss, German, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish, as well as from several theoretical points of view with these two clause-internal processes at its center. These language acquisition data are considered to be crucial in the validation of analyses of these specific linguistic phenomena in adult grammars. The contributions in this volume include the earliest thoughts in this vein and, for this reason, should be viewed as a starting point for discussions within theoretical linguistics and language acquisition alike.

Verbs and Diachronic Syntax

Author : I.G. Roberts
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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.

The Limits of Syntactic Variation

Author : Theresa Biberauer
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Against the background of the past half century’s typological and generative work on comparative syntax, this volume brings together 16 papers considering what we have learned and may still be able to learn about the nature and extent of syntactic variation. More specifically, it offers a multi-perspective critique of the Principles and Parameters approach to syntactic variation, evaluating the merits and shortcomings of the pre-Minimalist phase of this enterprise and considering and illustrating the possibilities opened up by recent empirical and theoretical advances. Contributions focus on four central topics: firstly, the question of the locus of variation, whether the attested variation may plausibly be understood in parametric terms and, if so, what form such parameters might take; secondly, the fate of one of the most prominent early parameters, the Null Subject Parameter; thirdly, the matter of parametric clusters more generally; and finally, acquisition issues.

Linguistic Inquiry

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Universal Grammar in Child Second Language Acquisition

Author : Usha Lakshmanan
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This book examines child second language acquisition within the Principles and Parameters theory of Universal Grammar (UG). Specifically, the book focuses on null-subjects in the developing grammars of children acquiring English as a second language. The book provides evidence from the longitudinal speech data of four child second language (L2) learners in order to test the predictions of a recent theory of null-subjects, namely, the Morphological Uniformity Principle (MUP). Lakshmanan argues that the child L2 acquisition data offer little or no evidence in support of the MUP’s predictions regarding a developmental relation between verb inflections and null-subjects. The evidence from these child L2 data indicates that regardless of the status of null subjects in their first language, child L2 learners of English hypothesize correctly from the very beginning that English requires subjects of tensed clauses to be obligatorily overt. The failure on the part of these learners to obey this knowledge in certain structural contexts is the result of perceptual factors that are unrelated to parameter setting. The book demonstrates the value of child second language acquisition data in evaluating specific proposals within linguistic theory for a Universal principle.

Theoretical Issues in Language Acquisition

Author : Juergen Weissenborn
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In recent linguistic theory, there has been an explosion of detailed studies of language variation. This volume applies such recent analyses to the study of child language, developing new approaches to change and variation in child grammars and revealing both early knowledge in several areas of grammar and a period of extended development in others. Topics dealt with include question formation, "subjectless" sentences, object gaps, rules for missing subject interpretation, passive sentences, rules for pronoun interpretation and argument structure. Leading developmental linguists and psycholinguists show how linguistic theory can help define and inform a theory of the dynamics of language development and its biological basis, meeting the growing need for such studies in programs in linguistics, psychology, and cognitive science.

English Linguistics

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Brazilian Portuguese and the Null Subject Parameter

Author : Mary Aizawa Kato
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Using the Null Subject Parameter theory in cross linguistic variation, Brazilian Portuguese is studied in this book from a diachronic and a synchronic perspective, and from the language acquisition point of view.

Null Arguements and Topics in the Acquisition of English by Korean Speakers

Author : So-Young Kim
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Syntactic Reconstruction and Proto Germanic

Author : George Walkden
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This book offers reconstructions of various syntactic properties of Proto-Germanic, including verb position in main clauses, the syntax of the wh-system, and the (non-)occurrence of null pronominal subjects and objects. Although previous studies have looked at the lexical and phonological reconstruction of Proto-Germanic, little is currently known about the syntax of the language, and it has even been argued that the reconstruction of syntax is impossible. Dr Walkden uses extensive evidence from the early Germanic languages - Old English, Old High German, Old Saxon, Old Norse, and Gothic - to show that syntactic reconstruction is not only possible but also profitable. He argues that while the reconstruction of syntax differs from lexical-phonological reconstruction due to the so-called 'correspondence problem', this is not insurmountable. In fact, the approach taken in current Minimalist theories, in which syntactic variation is attributed to the properties of lexical items, opens the door for syntactic reconstruction as lexical reconstruction. The book also discusses practical solutions for circumventing the correspondence problem, in particular the use of both distributional properties of lexical items and the phonological forms of such items in order to establish cognacy. The book will be of interest to historical linguists working on syntactic reconstruction and the Germanic languages, from graduate level upwards, as well as to advanced students of syntactic change more generally.

From Syntax to Discourse

Author : C. Hamann
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This book investigates typical phenomena of early child language from a cross-linguistic perspective. The investigation centers on the acquisition of pronominal clitics in production and comprehension, and especially on the well-known phase of infinitive production and subject omission. Other areas such as early negation and question-formation are treated in the context of the above phenomena. The book provides a unique comparative database for these areas of language acquisition from the point of view of Romance and Germanic languages in presenting results on Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, and other languages. On the basis of these broad and detailed empirical results, the author proceeds to evaluate current models and hypotheses advanced for the above phenomena from a theoretical perspective. A formal investigation of the semantics and pragmatics of pronouns and tense leads to the conclusion that discourse anchorage, which is problematic for young children, is mediated by syntax and by functional material in particular so that the development of the syntax-discourse interface is largely driven by developments in syntax. In relating unusually comprehensive cross-linguistic child data to unusually fine-grained formal analyses, the book thus succeeds in providing new insights not only into language development but also into linguistic theory.

Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development

Author : Annabel Greenhill
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This 2-volume proceedings of the 23rd annual Boston University Conference on Language Development contains 68 papers from the November 1998 conference, including the keynote address by Peter Jusczyk.