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Relativization in Early English (950-1250): the Position of Relative Clauses


Cristina Suarez-Gomez

This book is concerned with the position which relative clauses occupy with respect to the main clause in the history of English. Relative clauses have evolved from adjoined clauses placed outside the main clause to clauses closely attached to the noun they modify inside the main clause. This process of incorporation took place through a stage of topicalization in which relative clauses were dislocated to the left of the main clause, leaving a trace behind in the place where they are generated. This study is empirically founded, with data from The Helsinki Corpus of English Texts: Diachronic and Dialectal corresponding to late Old English and early Middle English. Several variables, of a linguistic and extralinguistic nature, are analyzed in order to describe the variation in the position of relative clauses in Early English.