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    Transitivity and Subject Position in Old Irish

    Lash, Elliott (2020) Transitivity and Subject Position in Old Irish. Transactions of the Philological Society, 118 (1). pp. 94-140. ISSN 0079-1636

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    This article is concerned with some fine-grained distinctions in the syntax of subjects in Old Irish. Old Irish (7th–9th century) is typically described as a VSO language, but there are a number of sentences in the corpus in which the subject is not immediately after the verb. In this paper two case studies are conducted the results of which show that (a) non-final late subjects are confined to non-transitive and ‘atypical transitive’ clauses having the general form VXSY, and (b) the position of final late subjects in the schema VXS# can understood in descriptive terms as ‘right-dislocated’ and motivated largely in information structure terms (i.e. Topic-Comment, Focus-Alternative), although a small residue of examples are similar to the VXSY-type of case in being 'atypical transitives'. The descriptive term ‘atypical transitive’ is introduced here to cover morphologicallytransitive clauses (with accusative marked direct objects nouns, or pronouns that can replace such nouns) that behave syntactically more like non-transitive clauses. There are four types: negative clauses with bare indefinite objects, clauses with object-oriented floating quantifiers, clauses in which a pronominal object serves to ‘detransitivize’ the verb, and clauses containing a verb of motion whose direct object is the goal of movement.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Transitivity; Subject Position; Old Irish; Chronologicon Hibernicum;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Celtic Studies > Early Irish (Sean Ghaeilge)
    Item ID: 12920
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Prof. David Stifter
    Date Deposited: 08 May 2020 15:39
    Journal or Publication Title: Transactions of the Philological Society
    Publisher: Wiley
    Refereed: Yes
    Funders: European Research Council
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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