Generalized and specialized adverbial resumption in Middle High German and beyond

  • Nicholas Catasso Bergische Universität Wuppertal


The paper discusses specialized and generalized adverbial resumption (Salvesen 2016) in Middle High German, focusing on two correlative elements derived from originally referential-deictic adverbs, dô (lit. ‘there’, ‘then’) and sô (lit. ‘so’). I show that while the former only resumes temporal and local (and, to a certain extent, causal) antecedents and can, thus, be classified as a specialized item, the latter exhibits ‘hyper-referentiality’, in the sense that it is compatible with virtually any type of antecedent (e.g. temporal, conditional, causal, concessive, etc.). On the basis of a quantitative and qualitative analysis of corpus data including adverbial correlative patterns extracted from the Referenzkorpus Mittelhochdeutsch, as well as of independent assumptions on the makeup of the left periphery in Historical German, I propose that (at least this type of) resumption is the non-pronominal counterpart of German left dislocation. Assuming a derivation à la Grewendorf (2002), I claim that both resumptives are maximal projections. In particular, they are base-generated in the middle field of the clause together with the to-be-fronted XP and ‘stranded’ in [Spec,FinP], while the adjunct antecedent moves up higher to a CP-internal [Spec,FrameP]. Finally, a central claim of this paper is that dô behaves consistently throughout the history of German with respect to its resumptive function, whereas sô gradually switches from a universal to a specialized element (in PDG, it can only resume conditional and concessive adjuncts).