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The Influence of Text Type on Word Order of Old Germanic Languages

A Corpus-Based Contrastive Study of Old English and Old High German

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Anna Cichosz

The book examines the word order of two Old Germanic languages, Old English and Old High German, using a corpus containing samples of three text types: poetry, original prose and translated prose. Thanks to this methodology, it is possible to compare word order patterns in Old English and Old High German, eliminating differences which may be due to stylistic or technical reasons (rhythm, rhyme, Latin influences), as well as to see to what extent text type determines word order and to check whether this phenomenon is universal (triggering similar behaviour in both analysed languages). The book also disproves the hypothesis of the West Germanic syntax, presenting data which show that the word order of the two languages started to diversify already during the Old English/High German period, i. e. before the 11 th century AD.
Contents: Comparative analysis of Old English and Old High German word order – Word order of main clauses – Word order of subordinate clauses – Text type versus word order – The functions of the V-1 order in main clauses – The V-2 constraint in Old English and Old High German – The influence of coordinating conjunctions on the word order of main clauses – The subordinate word order – The influence of weight on the position of subjects and objects – The West Germanic syntax hypothesis revisited.