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Decoding Middle Welsh clauses or “Avoid Ambiguity”


Harlos, Axel; Poppe, Erich; Widmer, Paul (2014). Decoding Middle Welsh clauses or “Avoid Ambiguity”. Indogermanische Forschungen. Zeitschrift für Indogermanistik und allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, 119:125-148.

Abstract

Middle Welsh is a language with a restricted set of morphosyntactic distinctions for grammatical relations and with relatively free word order in positive main declarative causes. However, syntactic ambiguity rarely, if ever, arises in natural texts. The present article shows in a corpus-based study how syntactic ambiguity is prevented and how morphological features interact with two referential properties, namely animacy and accessibility, in order to successfully identify grammatical relations in Middle Welsh. Further lower-tier factors are the semantics of the verb and the wider narrative context. The article complements recent insights suggesting that subject-verb agreement is not only determined by wordorder patterns, but also by referential properties of subjects.

Abstract

Middle Welsh is a language with a restricted set of morphosyntactic distinctions for grammatical relations and with relatively free word order in positive main declarative causes. However, syntactic ambiguity rarely, if ever, arises in natural texts. The present article shows in a corpus-based study how syntactic ambiguity is prevented and how morphological features interact with two referential properties, namely animacy and accessibility, in order to successfully identify grammatical relations in Middle Welsh. Further lower-tier factors are the semantics of the verb and the wider narrative context. The article complements recent insights suggesting that subject-verb agreement is not only determined by wordorder patterns, but also by referential properties of subjects.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Comparative Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:490 Other languages
890 Other literatures
410 Linguistics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Linguistics and Language, Language and Linguistics
Language:English
Date:November 2014
Deposited On:30 Dec 2014 18:41
Last Modified:24 Sep 2019 20:12
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISSN:0019-7262
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/if-2014-0008

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