Abstract and Keywords
Research on syntactic change necessarily involves the study of syntactic variation, as the historical record shows that all change includes a period of variation between the conservative and innovative variants. In the history of English variation between object-verb (OV) and verb-object (VO) order was evident in written texts for several hundred years before OV order eventually disappeared in Early Modern English. This article demonstrates that variation in object position in Old English is subject to the same kind of discourse/performance constraints found in other cases of syntactic variation cross-linguistically. It also argues that while the OV/VO alternation is indeed subject to such constraints, the syntactic change from OV to VO order is independent of them. The data for this study are taken from the York-Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Old English Prose (YCOE).
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.