Parameters of variation between verb-subject and subject-verb order in late Middle English

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This article sets out to clarify the contribution of syntactic properties and subject weight for variation between verb-subject and subject-verb order in a database of fourteenth and fifteenth-century prose. It sets out the syntactic structures which are assumed, and investigates the impact on ordering of a set of factors, using established quantitative methodologies. A series of conclusions includes the continuing distinct status of initial then, the systematic importance of clause-final position, the different impacts of subject length in different contexts, and the presence of a definiteness effect for the late placement of a subject after a nonfinite unaccusative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-111
Number of pages31
JournalEnglish language & linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007

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Copyright © 2007 Cambridge University Press. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.



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