Publication details [#2987]

Broccias, Cristiano. 2008. Towards a history of English resultative constructions: The case of adjectival resultative constructions. Annales Universitatis Paedagogicae Cracoviensis. Studia de Cultura 12 (1) : 27–54. 28 pp.


This paper provides a corpus-based investigation of the history of adjectival resultative constructions, e.g. He wiped the table clean, with special reference to Old English and Middle English. The article first briefly discusses some of the parameters relevant to a synchronic analysis of RCs, namely causativity, causality and force-dynamics, as well as the distinction between adjectival and adverbial RCs (collectively referred to as ARCs since the two types cannot always be differentiated diachronically). The article then shows that the diachronic data point to an expansion of the ARC from very specific instantiations, involving a limited set of verbs and adjectives/adverbs (i.e. the washing and cutting scenarios), to progressively more general types (which, however, set up a coherent network of analogical extensions). It is observed that this evolutionary path correlates with the metaphorical interpretation of actions as forces and the emergence of ‘proper’ causative examples, i.e. examples where the verb only symbolises the causing subevent in the causal chain evoked by the RC. Further, it is argued that this investigation highlights the importance of the usage-based model in linguistic analysis. (Cristiano Broccias)