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. 149–178
Category change in the English gerund
Tangled web or fine-tuned constructional network?
This study considers the diachronic categorial shift from nominal (NG) to verbal gerunds (VG) in Middle English in terms of Langacker’s functional account of noun phrases and clauses as ‘deictic expressions’. The analysis shows that the Middle English gerund was essentially formally nominal but functionally hybrid, thus exhibiting ‘form-function friction’. This friction furthered a split in the gerundive system between a verbal component associated with clausal deixis, alongside a nominal component, which specialized in nominal deixis; but this split is not absolute. The constructionist idea of language as a network of (inter)paradigmatically connected constructions helps to explain why the verbal gerund seems to simultaneously drift away from and again partake in the deictic behaviour of the nominal category.
Keywords: Middle English, construction grammar, nominalization, verbalization, gerund
Published online: 22 March 2018
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Cited by 1 other publications
Fonteyn, Lauren & Charlotte Maekelberghe
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