Diachrony and the referential hierarchy in Old Irish

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A set of Old Irish clitic person markers may co-index subject or object markers on the verb. Only one clitic of this set may appear at a time, however. The clitic, if present, indexes the verbal argument highest on the scale 1st person > 2nd person > 3rd person animate > inanimate. The restriction of one clitic per verb, a prerequisite for the hierarchy, is explained here as a result of the deictic origin of the clitic set. The deictic origin further favors the marking of local persons over non-local persons. For the upper and lower end of the hierarchy, however, the ranking appears to be determined rather by considerations of function. Since the clitics can mark topics, they favor 1st persons over 2nd and animates over inanimates.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTypological Hierarchies in Synchrony and Diachrony
EditorsSonia Cristofaro, Fernando Zúñiga
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9789027264459
ISBN (Print)9789027200266
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameTypological Studies in Language
PublisherJohn Benjamins


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