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2017.01.16 (11:17:22)

Yoon, Hee-Cheol. 2016. On the Old English Reflexive Possessive Sin. English Language and Linguistics 22.3, 169-189. The reflexive possessive sin is attested only in Old English poetry. However, metrical explanations resorting to displacement for rhythmic stress, alliteration, and syllable numbers fail to illuminate its distributions. They cannot predict the unstressed postnominal and the stressed prenominal tokens, not to mention those in the verse with more than four syllables. What is more, no answers can be given to the question of what made sin but not its probable substitute his predominantly postnominal. As an alternative, this study suggests syntactic accounts, in which inflected possessives including sin were merged into the structural position lower than the one for uninflected possessives at least in early Old English. The suggestion implies that the postnominal position should result from N-movement across the inflected possessive. Consequently, the postnominal tokens of sin in Old English poetry are interpreted as a syntactic archaism reflecting the earlier stages of the dual adjectival paradigms. In later periods, the inflected as well as the uniflected possessives came to target the specifier of DP, which led to the demise of the postnominal possessive in Old English prose.

 

Key words: reflexive possessive, metrical requirements, proclitics, inflected possessives, syntactic archaism

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