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  • Author or Editor: Javier Calle-Martín x

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Javier Calle-Martín and Antonio Miranda-García

Abstract

A split infinitive construction denotes a particular type of syntactic tmesis in which a word or phrase, especially an adverb, occurs between the infinitive marker to and the infinitive of the verb. Although rare from a statistical viewpoint, the earliest instances of the split infinitive date back to the 13th century, in which a personal pronoun, an adverb or two or more words could appear in such environments (Visser 1984, II: 1038-1045). Its use drops drastically throughout the 16th century, but it begins to gain ground again in the 19th century, hence resisting the severe criticisms of grammarians. Nowadays, however, a search for these types of constructions in a present-day English corpus reveals that the prejudice against split infinitives is receding. Therefore, this paper investigates the actual use of the construction in different corpora with the following objectives: a) to provide the statistics of the construction from a historical perspective; b) to analyse the type of adverbs occurring in these contexts; c) to offer a taxonomy of the adverb from a functional perspective; d) to investigate the combined effect of stress and rhythm in the development of the construction; and e) to review the actual use of a prototype splitting in present-day English usage.

Series:

Antonio Miranda García, Javier Calle Martín, David Moreno Olalla and Gustavo Muñoz González

Abstract

This paper presents the Old English Concordancer (OEC), a new tool to process an annotated corpus of Old English, which goes beyond the prototypical operations of similar programmes (lists, indexes, concordances, statistical information, queries, etc). Since annotation includes also lemmatisation and tagging, OEC can perform all those tasks not only with words but also with lemmas, and can solve any morphological query successfully, regardless of its complexity, by means of Boolean filters. It allows some simple syntactical research at sentence level as well, as it is sensitive to context and word-order. Moreover, the statistical information that the OEC generates includes absolute and relative values of items, as well as their distribution by words, lemmas, class and/or accidence [inflection], vocabulary profiles, etc. The OEC has been applied to an annotated version of The Old English Apollonius of Tyre, and some of the results that can be obtained are presented, along with others that can be indirectly derived from them.