This study shows that unstressed object pronouns in modern English are weak pronouns, in the sense of Cardinaletti & Starke (1999), and that they undergo Object Shift (Holmberg 1986) in the same way that weak pronouns do in the Scandinavian languages. It further shows that this leftward movement of pronominal objects has been present throughout the history of the language, and was also diachronically stable in its frequency of application. While the leftward movement of object pronouns is more difficult to observe in modern English than it is in historical English or Scandinavian, the status of object pronouns as weak pronouns and their ability to undergo object shift explain a number of distributional properties that unstressed pronouns show in the modern language.
Proceedings of the 26th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Charles B. Chang and Hannah J. Haynie
Table of contents