English is (still) a West Germanic language

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2016
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Bech, Kristin
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Nordic Journal of Linguistics. 2016, 39(1), pp. 65-100. ISSN 0332-5865. eISSN 1502-4717. Available under: doi: 10.1017/S0332586515000219
Zusammenfassung

In their recent book, English: The Language of the Vikings, Joseph Embley Emonds and Jan Terje Faarlund attempt to make the case that from its Middle period onwards, English is a North Germanic language, descended from the Norse varieties spoken in Medieval England, rather than a West Germanic language, as traditionally assumed. In this review article we critique Emonds & Faarlund's proposal, focusing particularly on the syntactic evidence that forms the basis of their argumentation. A closer look at a number of constructions for which the authors suggest a Norse origin reveals that the situation is not as they present it: in many cases, the syntactic properties of Old and Middle English are not given careful enough consideration, and/or the chronology of the developments is not compatible with a Norse origin. Moreover, the authors do not engage with the large body of sound changes that constitute the strongest evidence for a West Germanic origin. We conclude that Emonds & Faarlund fail to make a convincing case either for a North Germanic origin or against a West Germanic origin.

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Fachgebiet (DDC)
400 Sprachwissenschaft, Linguistik
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Anglicized Norse, language classification, language contact, Middle English, Old English, syntactic change
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ISO 690BECH, Kristin, George WALKDEN, 2016. English is (still) a West Germanic language. In: Nordic Journal of Linguistics. 2016, 39(1), pp. 65-100. ISSN 0332-5865. eISSN 1502-4717. Available under: doi: 10.1017/S0332586515000219
BibTex
@article{Bech2016-05Engli-38536,
  year={2016},
  doi={10.1017/S0332586515000219},
  title={English is (still) a West Germanic language},
  number={1},
  volume={39},
  issn={0332-5865},
  journal={Nordic Journal of Linguistics},
  pages={65--100},
  author={Bech, Kristin and Walkden, George}
}
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