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EVALISA
Abstract
In contrast to the received consensus in the historical- comparative linguistic community, we argue that syntactic reconstruction is both a plausible and a feasible enterprise. We illustrate this with an investigation of the syntactic behavior of *wai ‘woe’ across five subbranches of Indo- European, i.e. Indo-Iranian, Italic, Baltic, Slavic and Germanic. The adverbial interjection *wai ‘woe’ is found instantiating three different constructions, which we label: 1) the Bare Exclamative Construction, 2) the Dative Exclamative Construction, and 3) the Predicative Construction. We suggest that the Predicative Construction is archaic in the Indo-European languages, and that the Dative Exclamative Construction has developed from a focalized variant of the Predicative Construction, used in exclamatory context, since ‘woe’ is the quintessential candidate for being focused in situations of adversity. On the basis of the comparative evidence, all three constructions must be reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European, as well as a subject– verb construction, which determines the default word order properties between the subject and the verb, and finally a focus construction where focalized material occurs in first position. We couch our analysis within the formalism of Sign- Based Construction Grammar, establishing beyond doubt that syntactic reconstruction is a viable endeavor within historical- comparative linguistics.
Keywords
DATIVE SUBJECT, GRAMMATICAL CONSTRUCTIONS

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Barddal, Johanna et al. “The Story of ‘Woe’.” JOURNAL OF INDO-EUROPEAN STUDIES 41.3–4 (2013): 321–377. Print.
APA
Barddal, J., Bjarnadóttir, V., Danesi, S., Dewey, T. K., Eythórsson, T., Fedriani, C., & Smitherman, T. (2013). The Story of “Woe.” JOURNAL OF INDO-EUROPEAN STUDIES, 41(3–4), 321–377.
Chicago author-date
Barddal, Johanna, Valgerður Bjarnadóttir, Serena Danesi, Tonya Kim Dewey, Thórhallur Eythórsson, Chiara Fedriani, and Thomas Smitherman. 2013. “The Story of ‘Woe’.” Journal of Indo-european Studies 41 (3–4): 321–377.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Barddal, Johanna, Valgerður Bjarnadóttir, Serena Danesi, Tonya Kim Dewey, Thórhallur Eythórsson, Chiara Fedriani, and Thomas Smitherman. 2013. “The Story of ‘Woe’.” Journal of Indo-european Studies 41 (3–4): 321–377.
Vancouver
1.
Barddal J, Bjarnadóttir V, Danesi S, Dewey TK, Eythórsson T, Fedriani C, et al. The Story of “Woe.”JOURNAL OF INDO-EUROPEAN STUDIES. 2013;41(3–4):321–77.
IEEE
[1]
J. Barddal et al., “The Story of ‘Woe,’” JOURNAL OF INDO-EUROPEAN STUDIES, vol. 41, no. 3–4, pp. 321–377, 2013.
@article{6901561,
  abstract     = {In contrast to the received consensus in the historical- comparative linguistic community, we argue that syntactic reconstruction is both a plausible and a feasible enterprise. We illustrate this with an investigation of the syntactic behavior of *wai ‘woe’ across five subbranches of Indo- European, i.e. Indo-Iranian, Italic, Baltic, Slavic and Germanic. The adverbial interjection *wai ‘woe’ is found instantiating three different constructions, which we label: 1) the Bare Exclamative Construction, 2) the Dative Exclamative Construction, and 3) the Predicative Construction. We suggest that the Predicative Construction is archaic in the Indo-European languages, and that the Dative Exclamative Construction has developed from a focalized variant of the Predicative Construction, used in exclamatory context, since ‘woe’ is the quintessential candidate for being focused in situations of adversity. On the basis of the comparative evidence, all three constructions must be reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European, as well as a subject– verb construction, which determines the default word order properties between the subject and the verb, and finally a focus construction where focalized material occurs in first position. We couch our analysis within the formalism of Sign- Based Construction Grammar, establishing beyond doubt that syntactic reconstruction is a viable endeavor within historical- comparative linguistics.},
  author       = {Barddal, Johanna and Bjarnadóttir, Valgerður  and Danesi, Serena and Dewey, Tonya Kim and Eythórsson, Thórhallur and Fedriani, Chiara and Smitherman, Thomas},
  issn         = {0092-2323},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF INDO-EUROPEAN STUDIES},
  keywords     = {DATIVE SUBJECT,GRAMMATICAL CONSTRUCTIONS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3–4},
  pages        = {321--377},
  title        = {The Story of 'Woe'},
  volume       = {41},
  year         = {2013},
}

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