a1 University of Texas, Arlington
Recent work by Lightfoot (1976a, 1977) and Malsch (1976) has led to conflicting hypotheses about the underlying order of old English. Lightfoot hypothesizes that OE is an SOV language, while Malsch hypothesizes that it is a VO language. Although Malsch's argument is far more rigorous than Lightfoot's, both arguments are unconvincing because both suffer from a conspicuous lack of attention to the data available in surviving OE texts:Lightfoot asserts the nonexistence of constructions which do in fact exist (1977: 211), while Malsch cites only constructions drawn or elaborated from secondary sources (39, note 1). Furthermore, the two arguments are not directly opposed to each other. Lightfoot argues for a verb-final underlying order and an NP Postposing rule, while Malsch argues for a verb-initial underlying order and a Verb Postposing rule. Neither argues against the postposing rule of the other. At the same time, their only common assumptions seem to be that underlying representations of sentences have linear ordering and that surface auxiliaries in OE are derived from higher verbs.
(Received September 10 1979)
 I am grateful to the Graduate School of the University of Texas at Arlington for a Summer Stipend that allowed me to collect some of the data upon which my argument rests and to Stephen Wallace for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.