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Null Subjects in Gothic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2008

David Fertig
Department of Modern Languages and LiteraturesState University of New YorkUniversity at Buffalo910 Clemens HallBuffalo, NY 14260 []


Several kinds of systematic deviations from the Greek original, including simple insertions and omissions of subject pronouns and transformations of nonfinite or impersonal Greek constructions into personal finite clauses, provide evidence concerning the distribution of null and overt referential subject pronouns in Gothic. While the evidence leaves no doubt that Gothic was a null-subject language, it also reveals a tendency, not found in Ancient Greek, toward the use of overt subjects for nontopic antecedents. This Gothic pattern is reminiscent of what a number of researchers have found recently in some other null-subject languages such as Italian, but Gothic appears to occupy an intermediate position between Ancient Greek and Italian.*

Copyright © Society for Germanic Linguistics 2000

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