Abstract

Abstract:

Old Icelandic relative clauses are frequently preceded by the pronoun , considered by most grammars to be a demonstrative. Using a large corpus of Old Icelandic prose, I show that when precedes relative clauses, it is often ambiguous between a cataphoric demonstrative (referring ahead to a relative clause) and relative pronoun (part of the relative clause). Syntactic and prosodic evidence indicates that, at least in some instances, is unambiguously a relative pronoun, used in tandem with the particle er; thus Old Icelandic relative clauses seem to have doubly filled COMP. A notable characteristic of relative is its pervasive attraction to the case of the matrix antecedent. I argue that case attraction represents an intermediate stage in the reanalysis of from a demonstrative to a true relative pronoun. Structurally, case-attracting relative pronouns and true relative pronouns occupy different functional positions within a split-CP system. achieved the final stage of the development in the seventeenth century, but rapidly declined under competition with the complementizer sem, thus leaving the false impression that never developed beyond the case-attraction stage.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. e1-e40
Launched on MUSE
2019-03-15
Open Access
No
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