Loss of case is one of the most significant changes that the Norwegian language underwent during the last thousand years. Its decline was gradual – from four functioning cas- es, through the loss of nominative, genitive, and finally dative marking (though the latter still functions in several dialects). Accusative, which was often expressed with a zero ending, had, so far, not drawn much attention in comparison with the dative and the genitive with their abundance of endings – which is one of the reasons behind it being the focus of this thesis.
More specifically, the subject of it is the decline of the accusative case in Middle Norwegian, in the period between 1300 and 1500, in the area of today’s Telemark county. The aim of this thesis is to determine whether such decline can be observed during that time, and if it can, then it what way this change happens and at what speed.
The studied material consists of a corpus of 37 diplomas – letters – available via Diplomatarium Norvegicum, a database of medieval Norwegian documents and charters. The analysis has been conducted within the framework of Construction Grammar, more specifically Diachronic Construction Grammar, which utilizes constructions, defined as pairings of form and meaning, in order study the internal structure of language.
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