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


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

Vowel Length From Latin to Romance

By Michele Loporcaro

This book "draws on extensive empirical data, including from lesser known varieties" and "puts forward a new account of a well-known diachronic phenomenon."


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Letter Writing and Language Change

Edited By Anita Auer, Daniel Schreier, and Richard J. Watts

This book "challenges the assumption that there is only one 'legitimate' and homogenous form of English or of any other language" and "supports the view of different/alternative histories of the English language and will appeal to readers who are skeptical of 'standard' language ideology."


Academic Paper


Title: From 'Quickly' to 'Fairly': On the history of 'rather'
Author: Matti Rissanen
Institution: University of Helsinki
Linguistic Field: Semantics; Syntax
Subject Language: English, Old
English, Middle
English
Abstract: In this article I describe the semantic and syntactic development of the moderator rather from Old to Present-day English using a variationist approach. Rather originates in an Old English comparative adverb indicating speed, and hence time, but the loss of the indication of speed and movement can already be traced in the Old English period. In Middle English the ‘preferential’ senses of rather (e.g. the type ‘I would rather do X than Y’) become more common than the temporal senses. This contrastive meaning constitutes the unmarked use of rather in Early Modern English, but it gradually weakens in the course of the Modern English period. The moderator use becomes popular in the second half of the eighteenth century. The semantic development outlined above goes hand in hand with a syntactic development from an original adjunct into a subjunct and conjunct, and finally into a modifier of adjectives and adverbs.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 12, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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