Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Wiley-Blackwell Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.


New from Brill!

ad

Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin


Academic Paper


Title: 'Functional motivations in the development of nominal and verbal gerunds in Middle and Early Modern English'
Author: Hendrikde Smet
Email: click here to access email
Institution: 'Université Catholique de Louvain'
Linguistic Field: 'Historical Linguistics; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics'
Subject Language: 'English'
' English, Middle'
Abstract: This article examines the use of three gerund constructions in Middle and Early Modern English on the basis of corpus data covering the period 1250–1640. The constructions examined are verbal gerunds (eating the apple), bare nominal gerunds (eating of the apple), and definite nominal gerunds (the eating of the apple). It is argued that the success of verbal gerunds in the history of English can only be understood against the background of the interaction with their nominal counterparts. An analysis is offered of how the system of gerund constructions is functionally organised, comparing discourse-functional behaviour, distribution, and internal syntax across the three gerund types. It is shown that verbal gerunds closely resemble bare nominal gerunds in terms of discourse-functional behaviour and distribution, but are syntactically more flexible. As a result, verbal gerunds could replace bare nominal gerunds, copying their function but adding syntactic flexibility. By contrast, definite nominal gerunds, being functionally distinct from the other two types, developed a number of specialised uses, which ensured their survival. These conclusions throw light on issues of functional motivation in the development of the English gerund. Historical change is seen to be grounded in synchronic functional organisation. At the same time, it is shown that the only existing explanation for the rise of verbal gerunds (attributing their success to their ability to combine with prepositions) can only be partly correct.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in English Language and Linguistics Vol. 12, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



Back
Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page