Null subjects in Old English

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WALKDEN, George, 2013. Null subjects in Old English. In: Language Variation and Change. 25(02), pp. 155-178. ISSN 0954-3945. eISSN 1469-8021. Available under: doi: 10.1017/S0954394513000070

@article{Walkden2013-08-13subje-43885, title={Null subjects in Old English}, year={2013}, doi={10.1017/S0954394513000070}, number={02}, volume={25}, issn={0954-3945}, journal={Language Variation and Change}, pages={155--178}, author={Walkden, George} }

The possibility of referential null subjects in Old English has been the subject of conflicting assertions. Hulk and van Kemenade (1995:245) stated that “the phenomenon of referential pro-drop does not exist in Old English,” but van Gelderen (2000:137) claimed that “Old English has pro-drop.” This paper presents a systematic quantitative investigation of referential null subjects in Old English, drawing on the York-Toronto-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Old English Prose (YCOE; Taylor, Warner, Pintzuk, & Beths, 2003) and the York-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Old English Poetry (YCOEP; Pintzuk & Plug, 2001). The results indicate substantial variation between texts. In those texts that systematically exhibit null subjects, these are much rarer in subordinate clauses, with first- and second-person null subjects also being rare. I argue that the theory of identification of null subjects by rich verbal agreement is not sufficient to explain the Old English phenomenon, and instead I develop an account based on Holmberg’s (2010) analysis of partial null subject languages. 2013-08-13 eng Walkden, George 2018-11-19T10:50:53Z terms-of-use Null subjects in Old English 2018-11-19T10:50:53Z Walkden, George

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