Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-846f6c7c4f-6khh2 Total loading time: 0.249 Render date: 2022-07-06T14:43:11.763Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue

Expressing conditionality in earlier English

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2018

META LINKS*
Affiliation:
Department of English Language and Culture, Radboud University Nijmegen, PO Box 9103, 6500 HD Nijmegen, The Netherlandsmetalinks@hotmail.com

Abstract

This article traces the diachronic development of English conditionals with clause-initial subclauses (If you hurt the cat, (then) she will bite you) by means of (frequency) data from three corpora (YCOE, PPCME2 and PPCEME). It investigates the division of labour between (g)if, and (meaning ‘if, suppose/provided that, on condition that’) and verb-initial conditionals from Old to Early Modern English. It is shown that conjunctional conditionals (e.g. if conditionals) have always been most frequent. The limitations on verb-initial conditionals (as they exist in Present-day English) develop diachronically and are related to restrictions on verb movement and choice of verb, and not frequency. Genre preferences, however, seem to exist. The use of then introducing the main clause will be shown to be a reflex of an earlier paratactic structure. Its use over time is influenced by mood and length, the latter being of influence especially in later periods.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Arnold, Jennifer E., Losongco, Anthony, Wasow, Thomas & Ginstrom, Ryan. 2000. Heaviness vs newness: The effects of structual complexity and discourse status on constituent ordering. Language 76 (1), 2855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Auer, Peter & Lindström, Jan. 2011. Verb-first conditionals in German and Swedish: Convergence in writing, divergence in speaking. In Auer, Peter & Pfänder, Stefan (eds.), Constructions: Emerging and emergent, 218–62. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baker, Peter S. 2007. Introduction to Old English, 2nd edn. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Bhatt, Rajesh & Pancheva, Roumyana. 2006. Conditionals. In Everaert, Martin & van Riemsdijk, Henk (eds.), The Blackwell companion to syntax, vol. 1, 638–87. Malden, MA: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Biberauer, Theresa & Roberts, Ian. 2012. Towards a parameter hierarchy for auxiliaries: Diachronic considerations. Cambridge Occasional Papers in Linguistics 6, 267–94.Google Scholar
Broekhuis, Hans & Corver, Norbert. 2016. Syntax of Dutch: Verbs and verb phrases, vol. 3 (Comprehensive Grammar Resources). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dancygier, Barbara & Sweetser, Eve. 2005. Mental spaces in grammar: Conditional constructions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
den Besten, Hans. 1983. On the interaction of root transformations and lexical deletive rules. In Abraham, Werner (ed.), On the formal syntax of the Westgermania, 47131. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Reprinted in Hans den Besten (1989), Studies in West Germanic syntax 14–100. Amsterdam: Rodopi.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Denison, David. 2008. Syntax. In Romaine, Suzanne (ed.), The Cambridge history of the English language, vol. IV: 1776–1997, 92329. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Enkvist, Nils E. 1986. More about the textual functions of the Old English adverbial þa. In Kastovsky, Dieter & Szwedek, Aleksander (eds.), Linguistics across historical and geographical bounderies: In honour of Jacek Fisiak on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday, vol. 1, 301–9. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Fischer, Olga. 1992. Syntax. In Blake, Norman (ed.), The Cambridge history of the English language, vol. II: 1066–1476, 207408. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fischer, Olga, van Kemenade, Ans, Koopman, Willem & van der Wurff, Wim. 2000. The syntax of early English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Haeberli, Eric. 2002. Inflectional morphology and the loss of verb-second in English. In Lightfoot, David (ed.), Syntactic effects of morphological change, 88106. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Haegeman, Liliane. 2003. Conditional clauses: External and internal syntax. Mind & Language 18, 317–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Haegeman, Liliane. 2012. Adverbial clauses, main clause phenomena, and the composition of the left periphery: The carthograph of syntactic structures, vol. 8 (Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax 8). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Horst, Joop M. van der. 1981. Kleine Middelnederlandse syntaxis. Amsterdam: Huis aan de drie grachten.Google Scholar
Horst, Joop M. van der. 2008. Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse syntaxis. Leuven: Universitaire Pers Leuven.Google Scholar
Huddleston, Rodney & Pullum, Geoffrey K.. 2002. The Cambridge grammar of the English language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Iatridou, Sabine & Embick, David. 1994. Conditional inversion. In Gonzàlez, Mercé (ed.), NELS 24: Proceedings of the North Eastern Linguistic Society, 189203. Amherst, MA: Graduate Linguistics Student Association.Google Scholar
Iatridou, Sabine & Zeijlstra, Hedde. 2014. If diachronically: A diachronic versus a synchronic account of homophony. Paper presented at Diachronic Generative Syntax 16, Budapest, Hungary.Google Scholar
Kemenade, Ans van. 2012. Rethinking the loss of verb second. In Nevalainen, Terttu & Traugott, Elizabeth Closs (eds.), The Oxford handbook of the history of English, 822–34. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Kemenade, Ans van & Los, Bettelou. 2006. Discourse adverbs and clausal syntax in Old and Middle English. In van Kemenade, Ans & Bettelou, Los (eds.), The handbook of the history of English, 224–48. Oxford: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kemenade, Ans van & Westergaard, Marit. 2012. Syntax and information structure: Verb-second variation in Middle English. In Meurman-Solin, López-Couso & Los (eds.), 87–118.Google Scholar
Kiparsky, Paul. 1995. Indo-European origins of Germanic syntax. In Battye, Adrian & Roberts, Ian (eds.), Clause structure and language change, 140–69. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Komen, Erwin R. 2009. CorpusStudio. Computer program. Radboud University Nijmegen. http://erwinkomen.ruhosting.nl/software/CorpusStudioGoogle Scholar
Komen, Erwin R. 2011. Cesax: Coreference editor for syntactically annotated XML corpora. Computer program. Radboud University Nijmegen. http://erwinkomen.ruhosting.nl/software/CesaxGoogle Scholar
Komen, Erwin R. 2012. Coreferenced corpora for information structure research. In Tyrkkö, Jukka, Kilpiö, Matti, Nevalainen, Terttu & Rissanen, Matti (eds.), Outposts of historical corpus linguistics: From the Helsinki corpus to a proliferation of resources, Studies in variation, contacts and change in English, vol. 10 (Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English). Helsinki: University of Helsinki. www.helsinki.fi/varieng/series/volumes/10/komen/ (accessed 29 October 2012).Google Scholar
Kroch, Anthony, Santorini, Beatrice & Delfs, Lauren. 2004. Penn–Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Early Modern English. Department of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania. www.ling.upenn.edu/hist-corpora/PPCEME-RELEASE-2/index.htmlGoogle Scholar
Kroch, Anthony & Taylor, Ann. 2000. Penn–Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English, second edition. Department of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania: www.ling.upenn.edu/hist-corpora/PPCME2-RELEASE-3/index.htmlGoogle Scholar
Links, Meta, van Kemenade, Ans & Grondelaers, Stefan. 2017. Correlatives in earlier English: Change and continuity in the expression of interclausal dependencies. Language Variation and Change 27 (3), 365–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Los, Bettelou. 2009. The consequences of the loss of verb-second in English: Information structure and syntax in interaction. English Language and Linguistics 13 (1), 97125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Los, Bettelou. 2012. The loss of verb-second and the switch from bounded to unbounded systems. In Meurman-Solin, López-Couso & Los (eds.), 21–46.Google Scholar
Los, Bettelou & van Kemenade, Ans. In press. Syntax and the morphology of deixis: The loss of demonstratives and paratactic clause linking. In Schlachter, Eva & Veenstra, Tonjes (eds.), Demonstratives [working title]. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Meurman-Solin, Anneli, López-Couso, María José & (eds, Bettelou Los.) (2012). Information structure and syntactic change in the history of English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mitchell, Bruce. 1985. Old English syntax: Subordination, independent elements, and element order. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moessner, Lilo. 2006. The subjunctive in Early Modern English adverbial clauses. In Mair, Christian, Heuberger, Reinhard & Wallmannsberger, Josef (eds.), Corpora and the history of English: Papers dedicated to Manfred Markus on the occasion of his sixty-fifth birthday, 249–63. Heidelberg: Winter.Google Scholar
OED. ‘and, conj.1, adv., and n.1’. In Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
OED. ‘then, adv. (conj., adj., and n.)’. In Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Ohkado, Masayuki. 2004. On the structure and function of V1 constructions in Old English. English Studies 85 (1), 216.Google Scholar
Quirk, Randolph, Greenbaum, Sidney, Leech, Geoffrey & Svartvik, Jan. 1985. A comprehensive grammar of the English language. London and New York: Longman.Google Scholar
Rissanen, Matti. 1999. Syntax. In Lass, Roger (ed.), The Cambridge history of the English Language, vol. III: 1476–1776, 186331. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Sweetser, Eve. 1990. From etymology to pragmatics: Metaphorical and cultural aspects of semantic structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Szmrecsányi, Benedikt. 2004. On operationalizing syntactic complexity. In Purnelle, Gérald, Fairon, Cédrick & Dister, Anne (eds.), Le poids des mots: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Textual Data Statistical Analysis, vol. 2, 1032–9. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain.Google Scholar
Taylor, Ann, Warner, Anthony, Pintzuk, Susan & Beths, Frank. 2003. The York–Toronto–Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Old English Prose. University of York: Department of Language and Linguistic Science. www-users.york.ac.uk/~lang22/YCOE/YcoeHome.htmGoogle Scholar
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs. 1992. Syntax. In Hogg, Richard M. (ed.), The Cambridge history of the English language, vol. I: The beginnings to 1066, 168289. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Van den Nest, Daan. 2010. Should conditionals be emergent . . .: Asyndetic subordination in German and English as a challenge to grammaticalization research. In linden, An Van, Verstraete, Jean-Claude & Davidse, Kristin (eds.), Formal evidence in grammaticalization research, 93136. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wårvik, Brita. 2013. Participant continuity and narrative structure: Defining discourse marker functions in Old English. Folia Linguistica Historica 34, 209–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zwart, Jan-Wouter. 2011. The syntax of Dutch. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
1
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Expressing conditionality in earlier English
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Expressing conditionality in earlier English
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Expressing conditionality in earlier English
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *