Direct and Indirect Object order variation triggers from Old English to Middle English: a diachronous approach

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Object order variation is well-attested in most West-Germanic languages. The order in which the direct and indirect object occur in the clause is known to be influenced by various characteristics. This thesis, the diachronous effects of four of these characteristics will be examined, using a database consisting of Old English, Early Middle English and Middle English texts. The characteristics are information structure, definiteness, animacy and syntactic weight. Our main hypothesis is that similar effects can be seen on direct and indirect object order in all three languages. The analysis is based on a total of 76 instances of clauses containing both a direct and an indirect object. The database consists of five different texts. These clauses will be annotated per characteristic and analysed per time period. The patterns that are hypothesised based on earlier research only partly emerge in the data.
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