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Continuity is change: the long tail of Jespersen's cycle in Flemish

Anne Breitbarth (UGent) and Liliane Haegeman (UGent)
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Abstract
All West Germanic languages have completed Jespersen's Cycle, replacing a preverbal negation marker (stage I) with a post-verbal one (stage III) after a period of transition during which the two could co-occur (stage II). Only the Flemish dialects have maintained the old preverbal marker to some extent. The present chapter addresses this apparent historical continuity, establishing that Flemish en was in fact saved from the fate of its West Germanic cognates by a morphosyntactic change. Based on an analysis of the contexts in which preverbal en is found in present-day Flemish dialects, it is argued that en has evolved into a marker of emphasis of polarity, and that contrary to appearances, the Flemish dialects have in fact reached stage III.
Keywords
Germanic, Jespersen's cycle, negation, diachronic syntax

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Citation

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Chicago
Breitbarth, Anne, and Liliane Haegeman. 2010. “Continuity Is Change: The Long Tail of Jespersen’s Cycle in Flemish.” In Continuity and Change in Grammar, ed. Anne Breitbarth, Christopher Lucas, Sheila Watts, and David Willis, 159:61–76. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.
APA
Breitbarth, A., & Haegeman, L. (2010). Continuity is change: the long tail of Jespersen’s cycle in Flemish. In A. Breitbarth, C. Lucas, S. Watts, & D. Willis (Eds.), Continuity and Change in Grammar (Vol. 159, pp. 61–76). Presented at the Conference on Continuity and Change in Grammar, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.
Vancouver
1.
Breitbarth A, Haegeman L. Continuity is change: the long tail of Jespersen’s cycle in Flemish. In: Breitbarth A, Lucas C, Watts S, Willis D, editors. Continuity and Change in Grammar. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins; 2010. p. 61–76.
MLA
Breitbarth, Anne, and Liliane Haegeman. “Continuity Is Change: The Long Tail of Jespersen’s Cycle in Flemish.” Continuity and Change in Grammar. Ed. Anne Breitbarth et al. Vol. 159. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins, 2010. 61–76. Print.
@inproceedings{1019966,
  abstract     = {All West Germanic languages have completed Jespersen's Cycle, replacing a preverbal negation marker (stage I) with a post-verbal one (stage III) after a period of transition during which the two could co-occur (stage II). Only the Flemish dialects have maintained the old preverbal marker to some extent. The present chapter addresses this apparent historical continuity, establishing that Flemish en was in fact saved from the fate of its West Germanic cognates by a morphosyntactic change. Based on an analysis of the contexts in which preverbal en is found in present-day Flemish dialects, it is argued that en has evolved into a marker of emphasis of polarity, and that contrary to appearances, the Flemish dialects have in fact reached stage III.},
  author       = {Breitbarth, Anne and Haegeman, Liliane},
  booktitle    = {Continuity and Change in Grammar},
  editor       = {Breitbarth, Anne and Lucas, Christopher and Watts, Sheila and Willis, David},
  isbn         = {9789027255426},
  keyword      = {Germanic,Jespersen's cycle,negation,diachronic syntax},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Cambridge, UK},
  pages        = {61--76},
  publisher    = {John Benjamins},
  title        = {Continuity is change: the long tail of Jespersen's cycle in Flemish},
  volume       = {159},
  year         = {2010},
}

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