Chapter published in:Explorations in English Historical Syntax
Edited by Hubert Cuyckens, Hendrik De Smet, Liesbet Heyvaert and Charlotte Maekelberghe
[Studies in Language Companion Series 198] 2018
► pp. 77–104
On the differential evolution of simple and complex object constructions in English
This article surveys the evolution of object structures in Modern English. In the area of simple constructions, a vast range of prepositional objects and adjuncts have been replaced by direct objects, thus making the latter category considerably more abstract. By contrast, in the area of more complex structures, English has experienced a series of dramatic changes, leading to the virtual loss of several types of construction and the contraction of many others. Most of these reductive changes have introduced a high degree of functional specialization, by narrowing the semantic spectrum of the original syntactic frame or by compelling the use of alternative grammatical devices. The paper provides a corpus-based analysis of three major domains, external possessor constructions, double objects, and clausal complements preceded by direct objects.
Keywords: simple versus complex object structures, direct objects, prepositional objects, external versus internal possessor constructions, double objects, clausal complements, rise of constructions, loss of constructions, functional diversity, functional specialization
Published online: 13 August 2018
Colleman, Timothy & De Clerck, Bernard
Hawkins, John A.
Hopper, Paul J. & Thompson, Sandra A.
Keenan, Edward L. & Comrie, Bernard
2017 Formal asymmetries between active and passive clauses in Modern English: The avoidance of preposition stranding with verbs featuring omissible prepositions. Anglia 135. 700–744.
Visser, Fredericus Theodorus
BNC = British National Corpus
EEPF = Early English Prose Fiction
ETC = Early Twentieth Century Corpus
a selection of British and American writings by authors born between 1870 and 1894. Source: Project Gutenberg. Compiled in the Research Project “Determinants of Grammatical Variation in English”, University of Paderborn. (16,351,681 words)
ETC/B = British writings in the ETC
LNC = Late-Nineteenth-Century Corpus
a selection of British and American writings (complementary to the EAF and NCF) by authors born between 1830 and 1869. Source: Project Gutenberg. Compiled in the Research Project “Determinants of Grammatical Variation in English”, University of Paderborn.
LNC/B = British writings in the LNC
MNC = Mid-Nineteenth-Century Corpus
a selection of British and American writings (complementary to the EAF and the NCF) by authors born between 1803 and 1829. Source: Project Gutenberg. Compiled in the Research Project “Determinants of Grammatical Variation in English”, University of Paderborn.
MNC/B = British writings in the MNC
NCF1 = First part of the NCF containing only those authors born in the eighteenth century
NCF2 = Second part of the NCF containing only those authors born in the nineteenth century
OED = The Oxford English Dictionary
t90, t92, t94 = The Times & The Sunday Times
wridom1 = fictional component of the BNC
Cited by 2 other publications
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 15 june 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.