Studying word order differences in a historical parallel corpus: An example from Old Spanish and Old Portuguese


  • Kristine Gunn Eide University of Oslo



In this article, I use a parallel corpus from the 13th and 14th century to tease out some of the structural differences that existed between Old Spanish and Old Portuguese. While these two related languages were relatively similar in many respects, and the parallel corpus reflects these similarities, differences in syntax and information structure are also apparent. By comparing the syntactic and information structural properties of the sentences that display different word orders, it is possible to pinpoint more exactly what these differences were. The parallel sentences show that information structural properties of the left periphery, where Spanish allows for new information where Portuguese does not, account for differences in both object and subject placement.