Diachronic shifts in the interaction between syntax and pragmatics: the case of English

Ans van Kemenade - Radboud University

Diachronic shifts in the interaction between syntax and pragmatics: the case of English

Ans van Kemenade
Faculty of Arts
Radboud University

I address the issues involved in studying the interaction between syntax and information/pragmatics in word order change, based on material from historical texts, in a quantitative, linguistically and psycholinguistically plausible way. The issues I address include: assumptions how to define what is syntax, what information structure/pragmatics; how these may impact each other in historical change; how to analyse the data in a way that allows quantitative and statistical work to support claims about changes in grammar and usage; how to substantiate claims about change. I will illustrate these issues by case studies from the history of English: the loss of various types of OV word order; the loss of correlative constructions; the development of Verb Second.

Ans van Kemenade

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