This project examines contact-induced changes in the structure of the input due to the copying of argument structure of verbal prefixes and verb particle combinations from Old French to Middle English. It thus extends the studies from the DFG BASICS project and adds a new perspective by applying SILPAC’s psycholinguistically-driven approach. The project will have three research foci: a) the lexicon: resultative particles in Middle English under contact with Old French (to what extent do they act as markers of inner aspect/aktionsart?), b) syntax: changes in valency and the lability of verbs (how does the argument structure of these verbs change under contact with Old French?), and c) the lexicon-syntax interface: the expression of motion events (how do the changes under scrutiny affect a particular verb class?). The overarching RQs of this project are:
What is the empirical evidence for changes in event structure and how can it be mapped on to the input of learners in terms of the Tolerance Principle?
How does contact influence modify the structure of the input?
Consistent with the approach of SILPAC the project will investigate contact-induced changes in the structure of the input (key feature 1), the bilingual contact situation in medieval times and bilinguals as agents of change (key feature 2), the effect of changes in the lexicon on event structure and how they can be theoretically modelled (key feature 3), the possibility of applying learning models like the Tolerance Principle (TP) to historical data (key feature 4).
Project entry in the DFG GEPRIS database