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The Historical Syntax of the Brythonic Languages

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  1. The Historical Syntax of the Brythonic Languages

  2. The Historical Syntax of the Brythonic Languages : Some Breton and Cornish Evidence

  3. The Historical Syntax of the Brythonic Languages : Some Breton and Cornish Evidence Benjamin Bruch 26th Annual Harvard Celtic Colloquium Barker Center · Harvard University ·7 October 2006

  4. A Problem in Brythonic Historical Syntax • Insular Celtic languages tend toward verb-initial word order • Old Welsh, Cornish, and Breton are thought to have had VSO word order • Middle Welsh, Cornish, and Breton texts rarely have VSO word order in affirmative main clauses, although they use VSO elsewhere • Modern Cornish and Breton largely continue the syntax observed in medieval texts • Modern Welsh, however, is almost exclusively VSO • Did Welsh change from VSO to non-VSO, and then back again?

  5. Explaining Syntactic Change in Welsh • Hypothesis I: Welsh syntax never really changed • Non-VSO orders in Middle Welsh represent a ‘literary style’ that does not reflect actual speech (Mac Cana, Watkins, Fife, King) • Non-VSO orders may be derived from foreign (English, French, Latin) influence (Watkins) • Non-VSO orders may have spread from south-eastern dialects of Welsh, which subgroup with Breton and Cornish rather than with northern Welsh dialects (Lewis, Mac Cana)

  6. Pictish (?) † Brythonic Languages Northern British † Northern Dialects Northern Welsh VSO British Welsh South-eastern Welsh Southern Dialects Southern British Cornish South- Western British Non-VSO Breton

  7. Explaining Syntactic Change in Welsh • Hypothesis I: Welsh syntax never really changed • Non-VSO orders in Middle Welsh represent a ‘literary style’ that does not reflect actual speech (Mac Cana, Watkins, Fife, King) • Non-VSO orders may be derived from foreign (English, French, Latin) influence (Watkins) • Non-VSO orders may have spread from south-eastern dialects of Welsh, which subgroup with Breton and Cornish rather than with northern Welsh dialects (Lewis, Mac Cana) • Hypothesis II: Middle Welsh was not a VSO language • Modern Welsh preserves traces of the non-VSO orders used by speakers of Middle Welsh (Willis, Manning) • Verbal particles mi, fe derived from subject pronouns

  8. Word Order Typology English : I see the dog.

  9. Word Order Typology English : I see the dog. S

  10. Word Order Typology English : Isee the dog. S V

  11. Word Order Typology English : Iseethe dog. S V O The dog see I.

  12. Word Order Typology English : Iseethe dog. S V O The dog see I. O

  13. Word Order Typology English : Iseethe dog. S V O The dogsee I. O V

  14. Word Order Typology English : Iseethe dog. S V O The dogseeI. O V S See I the dog.

  15. Word Order Typology English : Iseethe dog. S V O The dogseeI. O V S See I the dog. V

  16. Word Order Typology English : Iseethe dog. S V O The dogseeI. O V S SeeI the dog. V S

  17. Word Order Typology English : Iseethe dog. S V O The dogseeI. O V S SeeIthe dog. V S O I the dog see.

  18. Word Order Typology English : Iseethe dog. S V O The dogseeI. O V S SeeIthe dog. V S O I the dog see. S

  19. Word Order Typology English : Iseethe dog. S V O The dogseeI. O V S SeeIthe dog. V S O Ithe dog see. S O

  20. Word Order Typology English : Irish : Iseethe dog. S V O * The dogseeI. O V S Feicim Ø an madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O * Ithe dogsee. S O V

  21. Word Order Typology English : Irish : Iseethe dog. S V O * The dogseeI. O V S Feicim Ø an madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O V * Ithe dogsee. S O V

  22. Word Order Typology English : Irish : Iseethe dog. S V O * The dogseeI. O V S FeicimØ an madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O V S * Ithe dogsee. S O V

  23. Word Order Typology English : Irish : Iseethe dog. S V O * The dogseeI. O V S FeicimØan madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O V S O * Ithe dogsee. S O V

  24. Word Order Typology English : Irish : Mé feiceann an madra. Iseethe dog. I see the dog. S V O * The dogseeI. O V S FeicimØan madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O V S O * Ithe dogsee. S O V

  25. Word Order Typology English : Irish : Mé feiceann an madra. Iseethe dog. I see the dog. S V O S * The dogseeI. O V S FeicimØan madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O V S O * Ithe dogsee. S O V

  26. Word Order Typology English : Irish : Méfeiceann an madra. Iseethe dog. I see the dog. S V O S V * The dogseeI. O V S FeicimØan madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O V S O * Ithe dogsee. S O V

  27. Word Order Typology English : Irish : Méfeiceannan madra. Iseethe dog. I see the dog. S V O S V O An madra feicim Ø. * The dogseeI. The dog see-1sg. O V S FeicimØan madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O V S O * Ithe dogsee. S O V

  28. Word Order Typology English : Irish : Méfeiceannan madra. Iseethe dog. I see the dog. S V O S V O An madra feicim Ø. * The dogseeI. The dog see-1sg. O V S O FeicimØan madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O V S O * Ithe dogsee. S O V

  29. Word Order Typology English : Irish : Méfeiceannan madra. Iseethe dog. I see the dog. S V O S V O An madrafeicim Ø. * The dogseeI. The dog see-1sg. O V S O V FeicimØan madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O V S O * Ithe dogsee. S O V

  30. Word Order Typology English : Irish : Méfeiceannan madra. Iseethe dog. I see the dog. S V O S V O An madrafeicimØ. * The dogseeI. The dog see-1sg. O V S O V S FeicimØan madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O V S O Mé an madra feiceann. * I the dog see. Ithe dogsee. S O V

  31. Word Order Typology English : Irish : Méfeiceannan madra. Iseethe dog. I see the dog. S V O S V O An madrafeicimØ. * The dogseeI. The dog see-1sg. O V S O V S FeicimØan madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O V S O Mé an madra feiceann. * I the dog see. Ithe dogsee. S O V S

  32. Word Order Typology English : Irish : Méfeiceannan madra. Iseethe dog. I see the dog. S V O S V O An madrafeicimØ. * The dogseeI. The dog see-1sg. O V S O V S FeicimØan madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O V S O Méan madra feiceann. * I the dog see. Ithe dogsee. S O V S O

  33. Word Order Typology English : Irish : * Méfeiceannan madra. Iseethe dog. I see the dog. S V O S V O * An madrafeicimØ. * The dogseeI. The dog see-1sg. O V S O V S FeicimØan madra. * SeeIthe dog. See-1sg the dog. V S O V S O * Méan madrafeiceann. * I the dog see. Ithe dogsee. S O V S O V

  34. Verb-Second Language German : Ich sehe den Hund. I see the dog.

  35. Verb-Second Language German : Ich sehe den Hund. I see the dog. S

  36. Verb-Second Language German : Ichsehe den Hund. I see the dog. V S

  37. Verb-Second Language German : Ichseheden Hund. I see the dog. V O S Den Hund sehe ich. The dog see I.

  38. Verb-Second Language German : Ichseheden Hund. I see the dog. V O S Den Hund sehe ich. The dog see I. O

  39. Verb-Second Language German : Ichseheden Hund. I see the dog. V O S Den Hundsehe ich. The dog see I. O V

  40. Verb-Second Language German : Ichseheden Hund. I see the dog. V O S Den Hundseheich. The dog see I. O V S Jetzt sehe ich den Hund. Now see I the dog.

  41. Verb-Second Language German : Ichseheden Hund. I see the dog. V O S Den Hundseheich. The dog see I. O V S Jetzt sehe ich den Hund. Now see I the dog. X

  42. Verb-Second Language German : Ichseheden Hund. I see the dog. V O S Den Hundseheich. The dog see I. O V S Jetztsehe ich den Hund. Now see I the dog. X V

  43. Verb-Second Language German : Ichseheden Hund. I see the dog. V O S Den Hundseheich. The dog see I. O V S Jetztseheich den Hund. Now see I the dog. X V S

  44. Verb-Second Language German : Ichseheden Hund. I see the dog. V O S Den Hundseheich. The dog see I. O V S Jetztseheichden Hund. Now see I the dog. X V S O

  45. Verb-Second Language German : Ich sehe den Hund. I see the dog. V O S Den Hund sehe ich. The dog see I. O V S Jetzt sehe ich den Hund. Now see I the dog. X V S O

  46. Verb-Second Language German : Ich sehe den Hund. I see the dog. V O S Den Hund sehe ich. The dog see I. O V S Jetzt sehe ich den Hund. Now see I the dog. X V S O

  47. Verb-Second Language German : Ich sehe den Hund. I see the dog. V O S Den Hund sehe ich. The dog see I. O V S Jetzt sehe ich den Hund. Now see I the dog. X V S O

  48. Verb-Second Language German : Ich sehe den Hund. I see the dog. V O S Den Hund sehe ich. The dog see I. O V S Jetzt sehe ich den Hund. Now see I the dog. X V S O Ich den Hund sehe. I the dog see.

  49. Verb-Second Language German : Ich sehe den Hund. I see the dog. V O S Den Hund sehe ich. The dog see I. O V S Jetzt sehe ich den Hund. Now see I the dog. X V S O Ich den Hund sehe. I the dog see. S