Edited by Gisella Ferraresi and Maria Goldbach
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 302] 2008
► pp. 121–159
Competitive Indo-European syntax
In the following article I will analyse the different constructions of embedded object clauses in the older Indo-European languages. In quite a lot of modern Indo-European languages the standard realisation of the sentential object clause is a finite subordinate clause introduced by a complementizer corresponding to the English conjunction that. In contrast, in some of the older Indo-European languages, this construction is only rarely attested, e.g., in Vedic, and a variety of structures without that-complementizer are used instead (“that-clause competitors”). By cross-linguistic comparison I will reconstruct that two object clause constructions were part of the Proto-Indo-European syntactic structure and that one of them, the explicative clause, can be considered as the predecessor of the modern finite that-object clauses. Furthermore I will show how the relational element of the explicative clause, a wh-operator corresponding to English which, could change to a complementizer element like that.
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