Exploring the Old French Influence on Middle English Prepositional Constructions: A Phraseological Investigation of at need and in need

In: Journal of Language Contact


As far as the lexical influence of French is concerned Middle English has already been investigated. The present paper claims that the influence that French exerted due to the language contact situation after the Norman Conquest exceeds the impact on the English lexicon and provides evidence for the fact that phraseologisms, i.e. multi-word units, have found their way into the Middle English language, too. According to former research (cf. Nagucka, 2003: 264) prepositional constructions do “not tolerate influence or borrowing”. The present article presents two case studies of prepositional constructions that provide evidence for the contrary; i.e. an influence of Old French prepositional constructions on the Middle English phrasicon.

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