UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 10 (1998)

The emergence of the D system and the demise of morphological case in English


In this paper I discuss the English NP and its diachronic development into DP via the introduction of a D system within nominals. Since NPs are inherently predicative, and N has a R(eferential)-role, that R-role must be bound, if NP is to be used as an argument. Either a functional category D or morphological case binds the R-role. Since there was no DP in OE, and the status of nominal projections was NP, morphological case bound the R-role. When morphological case disappeared, a syntactic D system was introduced to bind the R-role. Further evidence for this assertion is the absence of gerund constructions in OE, since gerunds are one instantiation of a D system.

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