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Syntactic variation in the history of Norwegian and the decline of XV word order

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This essay examines syntactic variation between Complement–Verb (XV) and Verb–Complement (VX) order in a corpus of Middle Norwegian texts written between 1250 and 1525. In comparison to traditional studies which relate word order variation and the subsequent loss of XV word order to overt case morphology, this analysis proposes that information structure and variation in the underlying structure of the VP play a significant role. Empirical data point to the interaction of endogenous and exogenous factors, including language contact between Norwegian and Danish, which ultimately brings about the decline of XV word order in 15th-century Norwegian.
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Keywords: Head-Complement order; Middle Norwegian; case morphology; diachronic syntax; information structure; language contact; syntactic change; syntactic variation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Purdue University

Publication date: 01 January 2006

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