Chapter published in:Category Change from a Constructional Perspective
Edited by Kristel Van Goethem, Muriel Norde, Evie Coussé and Gudrun Vanderbauwhede
[Constructional Approaches to Language 20] 2018
► pp. 119–148
Why would anyone take long?
Word classes and Construction Grammar in the history of long
I review the word classes proposed for long in such idiosyncratic English usages as I won’t be/take long, all night long. Although adverb fits most of the contentious data best, sometimes the word class is underdetermined. I suggest that long exhibits adjective ~ adverb underspecification from Old and Middle English onwards and can also be a semi-grammatical, decategorialised word. We need not assume that every word in every grammatical sentence must belong to one and only one word class (Denison, 2013). At the phrasal level the distribution is less anomalous and correlates with semantic and pragmatic features. Accordingly, it is sensible to describe the history of such usages in Construction Grammar terms. Recent Danish developments make an intriguing comparison.
Keywords: category, word class, vagueness, underdetermination, Construction Grammar, Danish
Published online: 22 March 2018
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ECCO Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Available online at http://find.galegroup.com/ecco/.
EEBO Early English Books Online. Available online at http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home.
OED=Oxford English Dictionary (OED Online) 2000- Oxford University Press, http://www.oed.com/
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