Marco Coniglio, "Diachronic perspectives on personal pronouns in German"

Marco Coniglio, "Diachronic perspectives on personal pronouns in German"

16. Jän 2024

Marco Coniglio

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Seminar für Deutsche Philologie

Diachronic perspectives on personal pronouns in German

Abstract: The paper explores the evolution of personal pronouns in Old High German (OHG), aiming to understand the emergence of a strong/weak/clitic tripartition observed for present-day German (cf. Cardinaletti 1994 and Cardinaletti & Starke 1999). OHG is seen as a transitional phase between two systems, with pronouns displaying unique syntactic and semantic properties. The analysis suggests interpreting some uses of OHG personal pronouns as d-pronouns, following Wiltschko's (1998) view, which explains their peculiar syntactic distribution and semanto-pragmatic properties. The historical development reveals a progression from the overt/covert pronoun realization opposition to strong pronouns replacing null pronouns through phonological reduction. Ultimately, a semanto-syntactic reanalysis is assumed to lead to a new paradigmatic contrast between strong and weak/clitic pronouns in OHG.

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