Redundant indexicality and paradigmatic reorganisations in the Middle Danish case system

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The Danish case system changed profoundly throughout the Middle Danish era. Based on examples from mainly three texts written in East Danish (Scanian dialect), I describe the steps of and stages in these changes and claim that they were caused neither by an unstressed-vowel-neutralising sound law nor by language contact as often assumed, but by various interrelated processes of grammaticalisation. I focus on one of these processes, viz., that the fixed topology of the Middle Danish noun phrase simply made noun-phrase internal agreement by means of case marking redundant and caused the loss of the indexical relations signalling this agreement, which, in turn, contributed to the gradual phase-out of case marking. Moreover, I relate this phase-out to two general linguistic principles, viz. those of markedness agreement (Andersen 2001: 27–37) and single encoding (Norde 2001: 258–261). Finally, based on Nørgård-Sørensen & al. (2011: 5–6) and Nørgård-Sørensen & Heltoft’s (2015: 262–263) five criteria for what constitutes a grammatical paradigm, I also demonstrate that, irrespective of the existence of some level of free variation, the Middle Danish case system may be described paradigmatically and, correspondingly, that the changes it undergoes constitutes an instance of paradigmatic and thus grammatical change.
Translated title of the contributionRedundant indeksikalitet og paradigmatisk omorganisering i det gammeldanske kasussystem
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParadigms regained : Theoretical and empirical arguments for the reassessment of the notion of paradigm
EditorsGabriele Diewald, Katja Politt
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherLanguage Science Press
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)978-3-96110-326-3
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesEmpirically Oriented Theoretical Morphology and Syntax

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Middle Danish, case, topology, indexicality, grammaticalisation, paradigm, agreement

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