Reconsidering the Role of Syntactic "Heaviness" in Old English Split Coordination

Open access

Reconsidering the Role of Syntactic "Heaviness" in Old English Split Coordination

The splitting of coordinate structures in Old English has traditionally been attributed to structural size or "heaviness", assuming that long, complex coordinate constructions required increased parsing and processing effort. In addition to this, most texts on Old English syntax take for granted that the split elements always appear in clause-final position. The conclusions in this paper - drawn from the analysis of a large corpus of Old English texts - imply a radical revision of these assumptions. They suggest that the role of syntactic heaviness should be reconsidered, and its importance minimised in favour of other considerations of a pragmatic and discoursive nature. The analysis of the position of the split elements confirms that they appear in non-final position much more often than has been assumed, producing syntactic discontinuity.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Bately Janet (ed.) 1980 The Old English Orosius. (EETS Supplementary Series Vol. 6). London: Oxford University Press.

  • Bethurum Dorothy (ed.) 1975 The homilies of Wulfstan. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Fox Samuel (ed.) 1864 King Alfred's Anglo-Saxon version of Boethius. ‘De Consolatione Philosophiae’. London: G. Bell.

  • Fox Samuel (ed.) [1970] [Reprint. New York: AMS Press].

  • Godden Malcom (ed.) 1979 Ælfric's catholic homilies. The second series. (Early English Text Society Supplementary Series Vol. 5). London: Oxford University Press.

  • Miller Thomas (ed.) 1890-1898 The Old English version of Bede's ‘Ecclesiastical history of the English people’. (EETS OS 95 96 110 111 1988). London: N. Trübner.

  • Miller Thomas (ed.) [1978] [Reprint. Millwood - New York: Kraus].

  • Plummer Charles (ed.) 1892 Two of the Saxon chronicles parallel: Based on an edition by John Earle. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Plummer Charles (ed.) [1952] [Reprint].

  • Skeat Walter W. (ed.) 1881-1900 Ælfric's Lives of Saints. (2 vols) (EETS OS 76 82 94 114). London: N. Trübner.

  • Skeat Walter W. (ed.) [1966] [Reprint. London: Oxford University Press].

  • Sweet Henry (ed.) 1871-1872 King Alfred's West-Saxon version of Gregory's ‘Pastoral Care’. (EETS OS 45 50). London: N. Trübner.

  • Sweet Henry (ed.) [1988] [Reprint. Millwood - New York: Kraus].

  • Anderson John M. - Norman MacLeod (eds.) 1988 Edinburgh studies in the English language 1. Edinburgh: John Donald.

  • Arnold Jennifer E. - Thomas Wasow - Anthony Losongco - Ryan Ginstrom 2000 "Heaviness vs. newness: The effects of structural complexity and discourse status on constituent ordering" Language 17/1: 28-55.

  • Behaghel Otto 1909 "Beziehungen zwischen Umfang und Reihenfolge von Satzgliedern" Indogermanische Forschungen 25: 110-142.

  • Brahmer Mieczysław - Stanisław Helsztyński - Julian Krzyżanowski (eds.) 1966 Studies in language and literature in honour of Margaret Schlauch. Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.

  • Canale William Michael 1978 Word order change in Old English: Base reanalysis in generative grammar. [Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation McGill University].

  • Chao Wynn 1987 On ellipsis. [Ph.D. dissertation University of Massachusetts Amherst - Published by Graduate Linguistics Students Association Umass Amherst].

  • Colman Fran 1988 "Heavy arguments in Old English" in: John M. Anderson - Norman MacLeod (eds.) 33-89.

  • Davis Graeme 1997 The word-order of Ælfric. Lewiston - Queenston - Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press.

  • Fanego Teresa (ed.) 1993 Papers from the 4th International Conference of the Spanish Society for Medieval English Language and Literature. Santiago de Compostela: Universidade de Santiago.

  • Ferreira Fernanda 1991 "Effects of length and syntactic complexity on initiation times for prepared utterances" Journal of Memory and Language 30/2: 2110-2233.

  • Fischer Olga - Ans van Kemenade - Willem Koopman - Wim van der Wurff (eds.) 2000 The syntax of Early English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Givon Talmy (ed.) 1983 Topic continuity in discourse: A quantitative cross-language study. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Givon Talmy 1988 "The pragmatics of word order: Predictability importantce and attention" in: Michael Hammond - E. A. Moravcsik - Jessica Wirth (eds.) 192-200.

  • Goodall Grant 1987 Parallel structures in syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Haeberli Eric 2001 "Speculations on the syntax of subordinate clauses in Old English" Reading Working Papers in Linguistics 5: 201-229.

  • Hammond Michael - E. A. Moravcsik - Jessica Wirth (eds.) 1988 Studies in syntactic typology. (Typological Studies in Language 17). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Hankamer Jorge 1979 Deletion in coordinate structures. New York - London: Garland.

  • Hankamer Jorge - Ivan Anthony Sag 1976 "Deep and surface anaphora" Linguistic Inquiry 7: 325-345.

  • Hawkins John A. 1990 "A parsing theory of word order universals" Linguistic Inquiry 21/2: 223-261.

  • Hawkins John A. 1994 A performance theory of order and constituency. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Hogg Richard M. (ed.) 1992 The Cambridge history of the English language. Vol. 1: The beginnings to 1066. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Jackendoff Ray 1971 "Gapping and related rules" Linguisitc Inquiry 2/1: 21-36.

  • Johannessen Janne Bondi 1998 Coordination. New York - Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Kohonen Viljo 1978 On the development of English word order in religious prose around 1000 and 1200 A.D. Åbo: Åbo Akademi Foundation.

  • Li Charles N. (ed.) 1977 Mechanisms of syntactic change. Austin - London: University of Texas Press.

  • Lobeck Anne C. 1995 Ellipsis: Functional heads licensing and identification. New York - Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Mitchell Bruce 1985 Old English syntax (2 vols). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Mitchell Bruce - Fred C. Robinson 1986 [1964] A guide to Old English. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Mondorf Britta 2003 "Support for more-support" in: Günther Rohdenburg - Britta Mondorf (eds.) 251-304.

  • Pérez Lorido Rodrigo 1993 "A typological description of coordinate construction in Ælfric's Lives of Saints" in: Teresa Fanego (ed.) 241-257.

  • Pérez Lorido Rodrigo 1996 "On the grammatical domain of gapping in Old English: Syntax and pragmatics" Diachronica 13/2: 319-346.

  • Pintzuck Susan - Anthony S. Kroch 1989 "The rightward movement of complements and adjuncts in the Old English of Beowulf" Language Variation and Change 1: 115-143.

  • Reszkiewicz Alfred 1966 "Split constructions in Old English" in: Brahmer Mieczysław - Stanisław Helsztyński - Julian Krzyżanowski (eds.) 313-326.

  • Rickford John R. - Norma Mendoza-Denton - Thomas Wasow - Julie Espinoza 1995 "Syntactic variation and change in progress: Loss of the verbal coda in topicrestricting as far as constructions" Language 71/1: 102-131.

  • Rohdenburg Günther - Britta Mondorf (eds.) 2003 Determinants of grammatical variation in English. Berlin - New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

  • Sag Ivan Anthony 1980 Deletion and logical form. New York - London: Garland.

  • Sasao Kazuyo 1981 "A deletion analysis of Old English split constructions" Descriptive and Applied Linguistics 15: 187-198.

  • Sielanko Elżbieta 1995 "Split coordinated structures in late Old English" Studia Anglica Posnaniensia 29: 57-72.

  • Stockwell Robert 1977 "Motivations for exbraciation in Old English" in: Charles N. Li (ed.) 291-314.

  • Taylor Ann - Anthony Warner - Susan Pintzuk - Frank Beths 2003 The York-Toronto-Helsinki parsed corpus of Old English. Department of Language and Lingusitic Science Universiy of York. (Available through the Oxford Text Archive).

  • Traugott Elizabeth Closs 1972 A history of English syntax. New York: Holt - Reinhart & Winston.

  • Traugott Elizabeth Closs 1992 "Syntax" in Richard M. Hogg (ed.) 168-289.

  • Van Hoorick Bart 1994 Pragmatic positions and the history of English word order: A functional grammar perspective. (Working papers in functional grammar 56). Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam.

  • Van Kemenade Ans 1987 Syntactic case and morphological case in the history of English. Dordrecht: Foris.

  • Van Kemenade Ans - Bettelou Los 2006a "Discourse adverbs and clausal syntax in Old and Middle English" in: Ans van Kemenade - Bettelou Los (eds.) 224-248.

  • Van Kemenade Ans - Bettelou Los 2006b The handbook of the history of English. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Van Oirsouw Robert R. 1987 The syntax of coordination. London - New York - Sydney: Croom Helm.

  • Wasow Thomas 1997 "Remarks on grammatical weight" Language Variation and Change 9: 81-105.

Search
Journal information
Impact Factor


Cite Score 2018: 0.08

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.1
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.095

Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 212 66 2
PDF Downloads 86 29 1