The shift to strict VO in English at the PF interface
Agnieszka Pysz, Bartosz Wiland
December 2009

This paper proposes an analysis of the shift to the strict VO word order in the history of English. We begin with pointing out that the previous accounts of this shift are problematic at least for two reasons. First, they do not explain why at some point in its history English became a strict word order language, nor why it became strict VO rather than strict OV. Second, they do not capture a number of diachronic and cross‐linguistic facts. We provide a principled account of the shift to the strict VO under which these facts fall into place. We argue that the setting of strict VO in English was necessitated by the loss of morphological case on nominals. This follows from a theory in which the presence of zero case exponents requires local licensing at the PF interface.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/001257
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: P. Ackema, R. Alcorn, C. Heycock, D. Jaspers, J. van Craenenbroeck, G. Vanden Wyngaerd (eds.) Comparative Germanic Syntax: The State of the Art. Amsterdam: Benjamins, (2012), pp. 311-352 [PRE-FINAL]
keywords: history of english, word order, vo/ov shift, prosodic phrasing, adjacency, morphology, syntax
previous versions: v1 [December 2009]
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