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Relative Clauses in Old High German: A Corpus-Based Statistical Investigation of Their Syntactic and Information-Structural Properties

  • Marco Coniglio (a1), Sonja Linde (a2) and Tom Ruette (a2)

In this paper, we investigate the properties of Old High German relative clauses. A striking fact is that the finite verb in these constructions may either precede or follow its object(s). We survey different possible factors proposed in the literature that could determine the relative order of the verb and its objects (VO/OV order), such as type, time, and place of origin of the text, information-structural properties of the object of the relative clause, presence of a relative particle, definiteness of the antecedent, specificity of the referent, and type of the relative clause (restrictive or appositive). Our investigation is based on a corpus of nontranslated texts. It reveals that the only factors that have statistically significant influence on word order are the type of the relative clause and some information-structural properties of the object of the relative clause. *

Corresponding author
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Seminar für Deutsche Philologie, Käte-Hamburger-Weg 3, 37073 Göttingen, Germany, []
Faculty of Arts/Research Unit Linguistics, Blijde Inkomststraat 21, P.O. Box 3308, 3000 Leuven, Belgium, []
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Wilhelm Braune . 2004. Althochdeutsche Grammatik I. Laut- und Formenlehre. 15. Auflage, bearbeitet von Ingo Reiffenstein. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.

Molly Diesing . 1997. Yiddish VP order and the typology of object movement in Germanic. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 15. 369427.

Hans-Martin Gärtner . 2001. Are there V2 relative clauses in German? Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 3. 97141.

Roland Hinterhölzl . 2004. Language change versus grammar change: What diachronic data reveal about the distinction between core grammar and periphery. Diachronic clues to synchronic grammar (Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 72), ed. by Fuss Eric & Trips Carola , 131160. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Roland Hinterhölzl & Petrova Svetlana (eds.). 2009. Information structure and language change: New approaches to word order variation in Germanic. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Thomas Krause , & Zeldes Amir . 2016. ANNIS3: A new architecture for generic corpus query and visualization. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 31.1, 118139.

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Journal of Germanic Linguistics
  • ISSN: 1470-5427
  • EISSN: 1475-3014
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-germanic-linguistics
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