Studies in English Language History in Honour of Leiv Egil Breivik
Edited By Kari Haugland, Kevin McCafferty and Kristian A. Rusten
The essays are all empirical studies, based on a wide range of corpora (both historical and contemporary) and applying theoretical approaches informed by Systemic-Functional Grammar, grammaticalization theory, dependency grammar, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics and corpus linguistic methods. Issues of methodology, statistics and corpus construction and annotation are also addressed in several contributions.
Øystein Heggelund: Information structure as an independent word ordering factor in Old and Middle English
← 298 | 299 → ØYSTEIN HEGGELUND
Information structure as an independent word ordering factor in Old and Middle English
The relationship between word order and principles of information structure has received increasing attention in English historical linguistics over the past two decades, and information structure is also a well-established concept in linguistics in general. However, there is relatively little research on the relationship between information structure and morphosyntactic weight, a relationship the present paper specifically seeks to address.
In this paper, I will first look at the concept of information structure and how it has been understood in the literature. Next, the relationship between information structure and morphosyntactic weight is discussed, before I outline my understanding of what information value (IV) is, i.e. the pragmatic analysis on the clause element level. Finally, I will present a recent quantitative study exploring the relationship between an element’s information value, its weight, and its position in the clause in Old and Middle English (OE and ME). The object of study is the word order patterns SXV (verb-final) and SVX (verb-medial) in subordinate clauses.1 There are two main research questions to be answered:
← 299 | 300 → 1) Does information structure have an effect on word ordering in OE and ME?
2) If so, does that effect change over time as a result of the fixation of the SVX order characteristic of Present-day English (PDE)?
2.1 Word order...
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