, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 191-211
Date: 24 Oct 2008

Comparative inversion: a diachronic study

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Abstract

By capitalizing on insight gained from the syntax of early English, comparative inversion reveals itself as a simpler process than is standardly assumed, viz. simpler than moving the finite verbal element to the C(omp)-domain in conjunction with subject movement to Spec,TP. An archaic option in the grammar allows the subject to stay in a lower position than the canonically assumed specifier of the inflectional domain and no head movement to C is invoked. The proposal complements recent findings regarding the diachrony of V2 in English together with its distinct derivation from classical V2 in Germanic. Together with the core analysis of inversion in comparatives, the article illustrates further areas in which beneficial consequences for comparatives are derived from the structure proposed, such as the persistence of certain subjectless comparative structures.