Bækken, B.: Some aspects of 17th century English grammar

Bækken, B.: Some aspects of 17th century English grammar

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This book discusses three features of 17th century English, viz initial adverbial clauses, conjuncts and the noun phrase. All three chapters make use of the material collected for Bækken 2003.

which is a corpus study based on approximately 2,500 pages of running text, giving just under 11,000 examples collected from three different parts of the 17th century and four different text categories, viz ‘descriptive prose’, ‘religious prose’, ‘letters’ and ‘history’. The two chapters concerned with adverbials testify to a longitudinal increase in the use of sentence- initial elements which are only loosely connected with the rest of the sentence in which they occur. This is noticeable above all in the case of conjuncts, the use of which increases significantly across the 17th century. Of considerable interest is also the fact that in diachronic studies word order may help to distinguish between conjuncts and the category of adjuncts, the two categories being often difficult to keep apart. Also in the discussion of the noun phrase word order is an important aspect, as the results indicate that complements, which normally occur postverbally, are more likely to contain the heavier elements, while preverbal subjects will be lighter, both features in agreement with the general word order tendencies in English.



Bjørg Bækken is Professor Emerita at the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Bergen


Contents

Introduction 9


Chapter 1

Initial adverbial clauses 13

Introduction 13

The data 15

Structures with one initial adverbial clause 17

Finite clauses 17

Clauses of time 20; Clauses of reason 21; Clauses of condition 23,

Clauses of concession 24; Clauses of purpose 25; Clauses of manner and comparison 26; Clauses of place 27; Wh-clauses 27; Comment clauses 28; Miscellaneous 30

Non-finite clauses 30

Infinitive clauses 32; -ing clauses 33; -ed clauses 35; Non-finite clauses with their own subject 36

Structures with two or more initial adverbials, at least one clause 38

Structures with two or more initial adverbial clauses 38

Structures where the first clause is finite 39; Structures where the first clause is non-finite 43; Non-finite clauses with their own subject 47

Structures with one or more initial adverbial clauses combined with non-clausal initial adverbials 48

Structures where the first clause is finite 49; Dislocation 53; Structures where the first clause is non-finite 61; Non-finite clauses with their own subject 65

Summary and concluding remarks 67

Abbreviations 69; References 69


Chapter 2

Conjuncts 71

Introduction 71

Conjuncts 72

Results 77

Conjuncts in the different categories 81

List of conjuncts 83

Conclusion 85

Abbreviations 86; References 86


Chapter 3

The noun phrase 87

Introduction 87

Data and selection procedures 89

Results 94

Simple noun phrases 96

Simple noun phrases consisting of head only 96; Simple noun phrases consisting of head + determiner 100; Determiners in simple noun phrases (ie determiner + head only) 100; Determiners in the corpus as a whole 103

Complex noun phrases 105

Noun phrases with premodifiers 107; Noun phrases with postmodifiers 110; Noun phrases with pre- and postmodifiers 117

Concatenation and embedding 118

Different types of complement 120

Direct objects + non-finite structures 122

The different text categories 124

Summary and concluding remarks 130

Abbreviations 132; Source texts 133; Text codes 135; References 136


Appendix 137

Primary Texts 137; Text codes 143


ISBN 978-82-7099-732-9, 145 pp., paperback
Format: 17x24 cm, weight 0,3 kg, year of publication 2013, language: English


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