Information Structure and Syntactic Change in the History of English is the first book to apply information structure as it relates to language change to a corpus-based analysis of a wide range of features in the evolution of English syntax and grammars of prose in long diachrony. Its unifying topic is the role of information structure, broadly conceived, as it interacts with the other levels of linguistic description, syntax, morphology, prosody, semantics and pragmatics. The volume comprises twelve chapters by leading scholars who take a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. Their work affirms, among other things, that motivations for selecting a particular syntactic option vary from information structure in the strict sense to discourse organization, or a particular style or register, and can also be associated with external forces such as the development of a literary culture.
Anneli Meurman-Solin is Senior Researcher in English Historical Linguistics, University of Helsinki. Maria Jose Lopez-Couso is Senior Lecturer in English Linguistics, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. Bettelou Los is Senior Lecturer in English Linguistics, Radboud University Nijmegen.
1. On the Interplay of Syntax and Information Structure: Synchronic and Diachronic Considerations - Bettelou Los, Maria Jose Lopez-Couso, and Anneli Meurman-Solin ; 2. The Loss of Verb-Second and the Switch from Bounded to Unbounded Systems - Bettelou Los ; 3. The Effect of Information Structure on Object Position in Old English: A Pilot Study - Ann Taylor and Susan Pintzuk ; 4. Word Order, Information Structure and Discourse Relations: A Study of Old and Middle English Verb-Final Clauses - Kristin Bech ; 5. Syntax and Information Structure: Verb-Second Variation in Middle English - Ans van Kemenade and Marit Westergaard ; 6. Discourse Status and Syntax in the History of English: Some Explorations in Topicalization, Left-Dislocation and there-constructions - Javier Perez-Guerra ; 7. Givenness and Word Order: A Study of Long Passives from Early Modern English to Present-Day English - Elena Seoane ; 8. The Connectives And, For, But, and Only as Clause and Discourse Type Indicators in 16th- and 17th-Century Epistolary Prose - Anneli Meurman-Solin ; 9. The Role of the Accessibility of the Subject in the Development of Adjectival Complementation from Old English to Present-Day English - An Van linden and Kristin Davidse ; 10. Latin Absolute Constructions and Their Old English Equivalents: Interfaces between Form and Information Structure - Olga Timofeeva ; 11. Why a Determiner? The Possessive + Determiner + Adjective Construction in Old English - Cynthia Allen ; 12. Functional shifts and the Development of English Determiners - Tine Breban ; 13. The Proximal and Distal Perspectives in Relation to the Position of Directional Modifiers in the English Noun Phrase - Turo Vartiainen