Order and Change
This research monograph explores how the course of morphosyntactic change is shaped by (i) ‘hard-wired’ properties of the grammar/UG and (ii) the workings of the language acquisition device. Applying recent theoretical advances in Minimalist Syntax and Distributed Morphology to the study of language change, it is argued that on the one hand, the set of possible changes is restricted by interface properties that determine the mapping between syntax and morphology/PF (creation of linear order, insertion of phonological exponents realizing functional categories etc.), while on the other hand, change may be driven by acquisition strategies that the learner applies to the input he/she receives in case the linguistic evidence is ambiguous or not sufficient to trigger a certain property of the grammar. Empirically, the study focuses on phenomena at the interface between syntax and morphology/PF, in particular changes affecting word order (OV>VO, V2), the make-up of inflectional paradigms, and the null-subject property in the history of various Germanic languages (English and German, in particular).