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Booth, Hannah & Schätzle, Christin: The Syntactic Encoding of Information Structure in the History of Icelandic

In this paper, we present a revised LFG account for Icelandic clause structure, factoring in new historical data from IcePaHC (Wallenberg et al., 2011). This builds on previous work by Sells (2001, 2005) and Booth et al. (2017), focusing more closely on the syntactic encoding of information structure. Based on findings from a series of corpus-based investigations, we argue that the functional category I was already obligatory in Old Icelandic, accounting for both V1 and V2 orders and the absence of V3/V-later orders. Moreover, we show that the basic c-structure skeleton persists throughout the diachrony; what changes is the way in which information structure is syntactically encoded, i.e. the association between c- and i-structure. Topics increasingly target SpecIP, which allows the finite verb in I to serve as a boundary between topic and comment. This goes hand in hand with certain discourse adverbs losing their function as a discourse partitioner in the midfield and ties in with other changes shown for Icelandic (Booth et al., 2017).



January 10, 2020

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