The fourteen studies selected for this volume - all of them peer-reviewed versions of papers presented at the 15th International Conference on English Historical Linguistics 2008 (23-30 August) at the University of Munich - investigate syntactic variation and change in the history of English from two perspectives that are crucial to explaining language change, namely the analysis of usage patterns and the social motivations of language change. Documenting the way syntactic elements have changed their combinatory preferences in fine-grained corpus studies renders the opportunity to catch language change in actu. A majority of studies in this book investigate syntactic change in the history of English from this viewpoint using a corpus-based approach, focusing on verbal constructions, modality and developments in the English noun phrase.
The book is of primary interest to linguists interested in current research in the history of English syntax. Its empirical richness is an excellent source for teaching English Historical Syntax.
Volume II to be announced soon.
1. Acknowledgements; 2. Introduction: Capturing and explaining syntactic change in the history of English (by Lenker, Ursula); 3. part iVerbal constructions; 4. "Ponne hate we hine morgensteorra": On verb complementation in Old English (by Johannesson, Nils-Lennart); 5. Tracking and explaining variation and change in the grammar of American English: A case study, with evidence from the TIME Corpus (by Rudanko, Juhani); 6. Prevent and the battle of the -ing clauses: Semantic divergence? (by Sellgren, Elina); 7. Prescription or practice?: Be/have variation with past participles of mutative intransitive verbs in the letters of Joseph Priestley (by Straaijer, Robin); 8. On the idiomatization of "give + O + to" constructions (by Akimoto, Minoji); 9. The clausal complementation of good in extraposition constructions: The emergence of partially filled constructions (by Van linden, An); 10. part iiModality and (marginal) modals; 11. The 'fail to' construction in Late Modern and Present-Day English (by Egan, Thomas); 12. The interplay of modal verbs and adverbs: A history of maeg eape (by Nykiel, Jerzy); 13. Current change in the modal system of English: A case study of must, have to and have got to (by Close, Joanne); 14. part iiiDevelopments in the English noun phrase; 15. Discontinuous quantificational structures in Old English (by Bartnik, Artur); 16. Genitive variation in letters, history writing and sermons in Late Middle and Early Modern English (by Juvonen, Teo); 17. part ivSyntactic variation and change through contact; 18. On the use of beon and wesan in Old English (by Wischer, Ilse); 19. The reflexes of OE beon as a marker of futurity in early Middle English (by Laing, Margaret); 20. Stylistic fronting in the history of English (by Ohkado, Masayuki); 21. Subject and Word index