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A Corpus-Based Study of Grammaticalization and Related Changes
Author: Svenja Kranich
This book constitutes the first full-length diachronic treatment of the English progressive from Old English to Present-day English, focusing on the crucial phase of its grammaticalization between the 17th and 20th centuries. It uses data from the British component of ARCHER-2 (A Representative Corpus of Historical English Registers, version 2) to uncover the details of this long-term grammaticalization process, tracing the development of the construction from a stylistic device to a fully-fledged aspect marker. Illustrated by a wealth of examples, the work offers new results concerning the preferred linguistic environments and the development of the functions of the progressive. In contrast to previous studies, the author shows that there are certain restrictions to context expansion in grammaticalization. She argues convincingly that the persistent reluctance of the progressive to occur in certain contexts does not point to incomplete grammaticalization, but can instead be explained as a product of its particular functions. The author also challenges the tenet that grammaticalization is generally accompanied by subjectification.

Abstract

Address terms are closely related to the conceptualisation of hierarchical relations in a speech community, so, since – at least in Western societies – tendencies towards a flattening of hierarchies have been noted (cf. Mair, 2006), we expect changes in this domain. Some evidence has been produced for German, American and British English, but empirical insights on address choice in Indian English are lacking to date. As it tends to be a conservative variety (cf. e.g. Collins, 2012), we might expect resistance to change.

The study makes a novel use of discourse completion tasks to investigate ongoing change using an ‘apparent-time’ approach. Our findings support the view of Indian English as conservative and of American English as changing most clearly towards informalisation, visible in the increasing use of informal attention getters (hey!). However, evidence of recent change is otherwise not as pronounced as expected and actually absent regarding pronoun choice in German.

Open Access
In: Contrastive Pragmatics