Chapter published in:Historical Linguistics 2017: Selected papers from the 23rd International Conference on Historical Linguistics, San Antonio, Texas, 31 July – 4 August 2017
Edited by Bridget Drinka
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 350] 2020
► pp. 410–430
Copying of argument structure
A gap in borrowing scales and a new approach to model contact-induced change
This article deals with the copying of argument structure, pursuing two aims: first, I will discuss why the copying of verbs, and more specifically their argument structure, has never been truly dealt with in models of language contact, including borrowing scales and hierarchies. I will show that the reason lies in the use of the long-standing dichotomy between lexical and structural borrowing, which should be rethought. Second, I will propose an alternative approach using Johanson’s integrative approach to language contact and code copying (2002, 2008), Holler’s (2015) definition of integration conflicts on the level of argument structure, and a modified version of Myers-Scotton’s (2002) Abstract Level Model. I will apply my approach to a qualitative empirical corpus study of Old French psych verbs copied to Middle English, focusing on the description, analysis, and theoretical modelling of the integration conflict that arises with the EXPERIENCER argument syntactically expressed by a to-PP on the model of Old French. Finally, I will compare my findings with similar findings from studies of language acquisition and suggest some generalisations.
Keywords: Middle English, Old French, language contact, argument structure, copying, integration conflicts
Published online: 09 July 2020
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