Sune Gregersen Rygård, PhD candidate at the ACLC, UvA, is the guest speaker at the ACLC seminar on Friday 15 November 2019 from 16:15 until 17:30 (followed by drinks).
Historical variation in verbal constructions: Two case studies from West Germanic
This talk will address a number of obstacles—and new opportunities—in the study of historical syntactic variation. I will argue that, despite the often limited primary sources, much can be learnt if one takes into account a wider range of historical evidence, including early dictionaries and glossaries, works of literature, and contemporaneous metalinguistic commentaries. I will illustrate this approach with two case studies of verbal constructions in West Germanic languages: the ‘independent’ modal construction (e.g. Dat mag niet ‘That’s not allowed’) in Dutch and its closest relatives, and periphrastic expressions of modality, aspect, and valency change in fifteenth-century Northern English.