This book presents a new perspective on the interaction between word-order and grammaticalisation by investigating the changes that stylistic fronting and oblique subjects have undergone in Romance (Catalan, French, Spanish) as compared to Germanic (English, Icelandic). It discusses a great deal of historical comparative data showing that stylistic fronting and oblique subjects have (had) a semantic effect in the Germanic and in the Romance languages, and that they both appear in the same functional category. The loss of stylistic fronting and oblique subjects is seen as an effect of grammaticalisation, where grammaticalisation is taken to be a regular case of parameter change. In contrast to previous and recent approaches to grammaticalisation, however, the author shows that it is not the loss of morphology that triggers grammaticalisation with subsequent word-order changes, but that the word-order change sets off grammaticalisation in the functional categories, which is then followed by the loss of morphology.
1. Acknowledgements; 2. Chapter 1. Introduction; 3. Chapter 2. Different views on grammaticalisation and its relation to word-order; 4. Chapter 3. Historical overview of oblique subjects in Germanic and Romance; 5. Chapter 4. Historical overview of stylistic fronting in Germanic and Romance; 6. Chapter 5. Accounting for the differences and similarities between the languages under investigation; 7. Chapter 6. Explaining the changes: Minimalism meets von Humboldt and Meillet; 8. References; 9. Name index; 10. Subject index