Corpus studies of noun modifiers in early Germanic
Kristin Bech, ILOS
This (ca. 50-minute) talk is in two parts. First it reports on a collaborative project in which we consider noun phrase modifiers in the early Germanic languages Old English, Old Icelandic, Old High German, Old Saxon, and Gothic. Our starting point is the striking divergence in the literature on canonical order. For early Germanic languages in general, modifier-noun is reported as the default order, while for Old Norse, noun-modifier is allegedly the neutral order. This is unexpected given their common ancestry and similarities in current varieties. We have carried out corpus studies to compare the languages, and find that the only outlier is Gothic.
Since our joint project only considered Old Icelandic, I wanted to find out whether Old Norwegian behaves in the same way as Old Icelandic, so I queried the Menotec corpus located in INESS. The second part of the talk thus focuses on this work (still in early stages), and includes a demonstration of some of the queries used. In general, the talk shows that testing old claims against new corpora might be a good idea.