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Information Structure and Word Order Change in Germanic and Romance Languages (ISWOC) (completed)

This project studied the relationship between information structure and word order change in the earlier stages of English, Norse/Norwegian, German, Portuguese, Spanish and French.

Two women smile at the camera.

Heads of project Kristin Bech and Kristine Eide.


ISWOC's aim was to study the relation between information structure and word order change in old Germanic (English, Norse/Norwegian and German) and Romance (Portuguese, French and Spanish) languages, with reference to the modern languages.

Our aim was to find out to what extent and in what way word order in the older stages of the languages was governed by information-structural constraints, how the languages changed with respect to the relation between word order and information structure, and how the modern languages differ from their older versions concerning these properties.


ISWOC was funded by The Norwegian Research Council and the Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages (ILOS), University of Oslo.

Project period

1 April 2010 - 31 March 2014.


Workshop 1: Information structure and corpus annotation:
theoretical and practical perspectives

7- 9 January 2011, Lysebu, Oslo, Norway


  • Martin Elsig & Esther Rinke: Approaching information structure in historical text corpora: Methodological challenges
  • Anita Røreng & Marit Westergaard: Word order and information structure in double object constructions
  • Ans van Kemenade: The loss of V2
  •  Bettelou Los: A typological switch in early Modern English? The loss of verb-second in English and its consequences
  • PhD presentation: Erwin Komen. Semi-automatic coreference enrichment for information structure research  
  • PhD presentation: Rosanne Hebing & Gea Dreschler. Sentence beginnings: Present-day English versus Old English and Dutch   
  • PhD presentation: George Walkden. Verb-third in early West Germanic: a comparative perspective
  • Kristin Bech: The ISWOC corpus
  • Dag Haug: The relationship between dependency grammar and lexical-functional grammar
  • Master’s student presentation: Sonja Radwan. Word order in Old French
  • Ann Taylor & Susan Pintzuk. The change from OV to VO in English: the interaction of syntactic change and information status effects
  • Kristine Eide: The relation between syntactic annotation and information structure annotation
  • Christine Meklenborg Salvesen: Clitic clusters in Old French and Old Italian
  • Master’s student presentation: Kari Kinn. The development of expletive subjects in Norwegian
  • Roland Hinterhölzl: On the relation between prosody, syntax and information structure
  • Informal session on statistics in historical linguistics with Ann Taylor and Susan Pintzuk
  • Eirik Welo: V1 sentences in New Testament Greek: subject positions, givenness, rhetorical relations
  • PhD presentation: Angelika Müth. New discourse referents and the specificity distinction. The pragmatics of overt indefiniteness marking in Classical Armenian
  • Hanne Eckhoff & Dag Haug: Personal names with articles: A quantitative approach
  • PhD presentation: Mari Hertzenberg. Distinguishing between ille and ipse as demonstratives, definite articles and personal pronouns in late Latin                        
  • Eva Schlachter: Information structure and language change
  • Svetlana Petrova: Information structure and syntactic variation in root declaratives in Middle Low German

Workshop 2: Information structure and corpus annotation:
theoretical and practical perspectives

8 – 9 June 2012, Oslo


  • Friday 8 June – paper discussions
  • Saturday 9 June – paper presentations
    • Presentation 1: Haug et al.
    • Presentation 2: Taylor-Pintzuk
    • Discussion
      Chair: Los
    • Presentation 3: Hinterhölzl
    • Presentation 4: Eide-Sitaridou
    • Discussion
      Chair: Hagemann
    • Presentation 5: Westergaard
    • Presentation 6: Komen-Hebing-Los-Kemenade
    • Discussion
      Chair: Dreschler
    • Presentation 7: Walkden
    • Presentation 8: Dreschler
    • Discussion
      Chair: Coniglio
    • Presentation 9: Coniglio-Schlachter
    • Presentation 10: Bech-Salvesen
    • Discussion
      Chair: Eckhoff
    • Presentation 11: Petrova-Rinke
    • Presentation 12: Faarlund-Hagemann
    • Discussion
      Chair: Sitaridou 
Published Oct. 27, 2020 12:22 PM - Last modified May 19, 2022 10:15 PM


For general questions regarding the project and questions regarding the Germanic part of the project, please contact Kristin Bech.

For questions regarding the corpus annotations and the Romance part of the project, please contact Kristine Gunn Eide.


  • Kristin Bech
  • Kristine Gunn Eide
  • Kristin Hagemann
  • Signe Laake
  • Kari Kinn
Detailed list of participants