Article published in:English Historical Linguistics 2010: Selected Papers from the Sixteenth International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL 16), Pécs, 23-27 August 2010
Edited by Irén Hegedűs and Alexandra Fodor
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 325] 2012
► pp. 289–310
“Please tilt me-ward by return of post”
On the vicissitude of a marginal pronominal construction in the history of English
This study is aimed to probe into one type of pronominal word formation such as me-ward, us-ward, you-ward, thee-ward, him-ward, her-ward and them-ward, including all of their variant forms. Although having been used for a prolonged period of time from the early 13th century, they have gone unnoticed in English historical linguistics. The ward(s) construction started with locative adverbs as the head of the construction, expanding the range of the headwords to prepositions, proper and identifiable nouns, pronouns, and nonce words. While all the constructional examples except the pronoun-ward(s) construction are relatively productive and stable albeit being jocular and ad hoc at times, the pronoun-ward(s) construction with any grammatical person has been fairly infrequent throughout history. As a consequence, the infrequent occurrence of the pronoun-ward(s) construction impeded the global constructional expansion, failing in establishing the solid constructional stability and falling into disuse in the 20th century.
Published online: 13 November 2012