Pronoun placement and pronoun case in Old English

Rhona Alcorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has long been recognised that Old English personal pronouns often turn up in ‘special’ positions, i.e. positions in which functionally equivalent nominals do not occur. Regardless of the particular syntactic analysis given to these specially placed pronouns, it is generally assumed that their special placement is a freely available option. Focusing on object personal pronouns in a large corpus of Old English prose, this paper finds clear evidence of a correlation between the option of special placement on the one hand and pronoun case on the other. For pronouns governed by a preposition in particular, I show that this correlation holds independently of the particular preposition involved and of the PP’s semantics. For pronouns governed by a verb, I find that the effect appears to be mediated by information structure considerations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-472
Number of pages18
JournalNeuphilologische Mitteilungen
Issue number4
Early online date1 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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