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Title:Language Change and Infinitival Complements in Old French (Syntax, Historical, Romance)
Author(s):Pearce, Elizabeth Hastings
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Linguistics
Abstract:This study presents an analysis of infinitival complement constructions in Old French which differ syntactically from their Modern French parallels. The analysis is formulated in the terms of the Government and Binding framework and it has the aim both of accounting for the constructions in question on the basis of the evidence available from textual sources and of providing indications as to the means of describing the subsequent evolution of the constructions.
The material evidence on which this study is based includes the results of an original study of circa 40,000 lines of material from Old French texts. Organized subsets of the data are displayed in an Appendix.
The analysis distinguishes three types of infinitival complements in Old French. The causative construction in Old French (the type: il me l'a fait voir ('he made me see it')), unlike its Modern French counterpart, is shown as occurring with Impersonal and Order verbs as well as with Causative and Perception verbs. Two non-causative infinitival complement constructions are analyzed and distinguished especially in terms of pronoun placement characteristics, as: il me viendra voir ('he will come to see me') versus il oubliera de moi voir ('he will forget to see me'). In the former construction, the pronoun complement in its weak form precedes the main verb and, in the latter construction, the pronoun complement in its strong form precedes the infinitive.
The analysis proposes that the construction characterized by the presence of the strong pronoun is to be described as including an S' complement, whereas the constructions with weak pronouns are to be described as including VP complements. It is further proposed that the subsequent evolution of French indicates an increase in the use of S' infinitival complements, with the remaining causative constructions appearing as relic VP infinitival complement types.
The study is divided into two parts: Part One includes a general discussion of the treatment of syntactic change in the Government and Binding framework, and Part Two consists of three chapters devoted to the analysis of the Old French infinitival complements and of comparative data from Modern Romance, especially Italian.
Issue Date:1985
Description:201 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1985.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8521856
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1985

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