Chapter published in:Late Modern English: Novel encounters
Edited by Merja Kytö and Erik Smitterberg
[Studies in Language Companion Series 214] 2020
► pp. 92–115
Changes affecting relative clauses in Late Modern English
This paper presents the results of a corpus study comparing relative markers (relative complementisers and relative pronouns) in the King James Bible and its modernised version, focusing on subject and object relative clauses involving a human referent. The attested differences indicate changes affecting Standard (British) English during Late Modern English. The paper discusses three important aspects: in Early Modern English, (i) which was available for human subjects, (ii) that-relatives had a higher proportion, and (iii) the equative element as could introduce relative clauses as a complementiser. The paper argues that the disappearance or reduction of alternative forms to who/whom was driven both by internal and by external factors, and that significant differences can be observed between the standard variety and regional dialects.
Published online: 18 March 2020
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