Chapter published in:Nodes and Networks in Diachronic Construction Grammar
Edited by Lotte Sommerer and Elena Smirnova
[Constructional Approaches to Language 27] 2020
► pp. 214–242
Allostructions, homostructions or a constructional family?
Changes in the network of secondary predicate constructions in Middle English
The network of prepositional secondary predicate constructions has undergone massive changes throughout the history of English. While in Old English forms marked with to (e.g. crown someone as king) used to dominate, forms marked with as dominate in Present-Day English (e.g. crown someone as king). The present paper studies the changes in the network of such constructions marked with as, for, into, and to in the Middle English period by analysing changes in frequency and semantic similarity. A corpus study in the PPCME2 was conducted, based on a Distributional Semantic Model. The results indicate a sudden turning point in the early Middle English period whereby to-marked forms quickly lost their importance. In addition to providing insights into the (changing) nature of polysemic links and allostructions, the description of constructions copied from Anglo-Norman introduces a language contact component to the framework of Diachronic Construction Grammar.
Keywords: secondary predication, Middle English, modal expressions, distributional semantics, language contact
Published online: 13 May 2020