Syntactic Change in Welsh: A Study of the Loss of Verb-Second

Hardcover | November 29, 1998

byDavid W. E. Willis

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Welsh is often cited as an exemplary case of verb-initial language. While this is generally true of the language today, earlier written texts show widespread use of subject-initial, object-initial, and other word orders. David Willis challenges the conventional view that these orders wererestricted to an artificial literary register, claiming instead that they were alive in spoken Welsh up until the Early Modern period. He looks at Middle Welsh word order within a Principles and Parameters framework, showing extensive parallelisms between Middle Welsh and verb-second systems inGermanic and Romance languages. He also provides rich documentation of syntactic change in Welsh, showing for the first time how the transition from the verb-second rule of Middle Welsh to the verb-initial system of Contemporary Welsh took place. He examines a case study of a verb-second systemoutside of the Germanic languages, investigates how such systems have come to be lost over time, and raises questions about the fundamental mechanisms of language change.

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Welsh is often cited as an exemplary case of verb-initial language. While this is generally true of the language today, earlier written texts show widespread use of subject-initial, object-initial, and other word orders. David Willis challenges the conventional view that these orders wererestricted to an artificial literary register, c...

David W. E. Willis is Lecturer in Historical Linguistics at the University of Manchester.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.87 inPublished:November 29, 1998Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198237596

ISBN - 13:9780198237594

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Syntactic Change3. Verb-second in Middle Welsh4. Verb-first in Middle Welsh5. Subject Pronouns and the Expletive Construction6. The Loss of Verb-Second7. Pronouns and Complementizers8. ConclusionNotesAppendicesReferences