Chapter 6The information status of late subjects in passive main clauses in Old English
This paper investigates properties of late subjects, i.e. subjects that occur after the VP, in Old English (OE), focusing on passive main clauses. Specifically, I test the hypothesis presented by Biberauer & van Kemenade (2011) that the late subject position in OE is reserved for new subjects. First, an analysis of the information status of late subjects shows that the majority of them are indeed new to the discourse, although they are nevertheless often cognitively accessible for the reader. Second, a comparison of subjects in three positions in the clause â€“ high, medial and late â€“ provides further evidence for the effect of weight (length) on late placement of subjects, while the effects of definiteness and clause-initial element are less straightforward.
- 2.Subject positions for IA subjects in OE and their information-structural properties
- 3.The information status of late passive subjects in OE
- 3.1Data and method of selection
- 3.2The information status of late subjects in passive main clauses
- 4.Other factors influencing subject placement: Weight, definiteness and clause-initial element
- 4.3Clause-initial element