Chargé de recherche epst - Syntaxe latine
My main research topic is Latin syntax, with a special interest in the study of word order. I recently completed a monograph (to appear with OUP in 2017) in which I describe and analyse the alternation between the word order patterns ‘OV’ and ‘VO’ on the one hand, and ‘VPAux’ and ‘AuxVP’ on the other, in the period from 200 BC (Plautus) until 600 AD (Gregory of Tours).
The main empirical result of my study is that some received wisdom about the historical development of Latin word order needs to be reconsidered. For instance, contrary to what is often claimed in the literature, during the transition from Classical to Late Latin there is no major increase in productivity of the ‘head-initial’ order VO (which is the only available option in the present day Romance languages). Moreover, the order AuxVP only becomes more frequent in clauses with a modal verb and an infinitive, whereas Late Latin periphrastic expressions with a BE-auxiliary and a past participle display a remarkably strong preference for the ‘head-final’ order PaPa-BE.
In addition, in the book I also address the more fundamental as to which type of grammar is best suited to analyse Latin clause structure. I argue that a phrase structure grammar of the fully configurational kind is superior to various approaches which assume a ‘flat’ structure for Latin clauses. In particular, I provide four arguments in favour of the existence of a verb phrase constituent, i.e. a higher-order constituent can only be accommodated in a configurational system.
My current research projects are concerned with the relation between word order (and in particular object placement) and information structure, as well as with the phenomenon of argument omission.
Finally, I also have research interests in general topics in (generative) syntactic theory, as well as in the study of discourse particles and formal approaches to poetic metre.