Edited by Paula Rautionaho, Arja Nurmi and Juhani Klemola
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 96] 2020
► pp. 277–302
This chapter seeks to establish if the Transitivity Hypothesis (Hopper & Thompson 1980) can explain the variation in the use of two reflexive strategies with the verb sit in Early Modern English (e.g. I sat me down/I sat myself down) and the verb’s subsequent transitivization (e.g. he sat me down). By studying data from large historical corpora, we will re-evaluate the results of earlier research and establish why sit continued to be used with the simple reflexive strategy (i.e. with object pronouns) until the Late Modern period. In our analysis of the transitivization of sit (down), we focus on both micro-level semantic and syntactic factors and more general developments that have supported the transitivization of verbs in Late Modern English.