A variationist approach to the spread of emergent features in Middle English

Percillier, Michael

Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2020
The title of a journal, publication series: Recherches Anglaises et Nord-Américaines : RANAM
Volume: 53
Issue number: 1
Page range: 23-36
Place of publication: Strasbourg
Publishing house: Presses universitaires de Strasbourg
ISSN: 0557-6989
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Anglistik IV - Anglistische Linguistik/Diachronie (Trips 2006-)
Subject: 420 English
400 Language, linguistics
Keywords (English): language contact , Middle English , diatopic variation , historical linguistics , diachrony
Abstract: The present article tests the potential of emergent Middle English features as introduced or influenced by contact with Old French. By mapping texts from the Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English, the diatopic spread of such features is investigated, whereby a South to North spread would lend support, but not yet credence, to a contact explanation, and the opposite development would render it unlikely. The spread of the three features under investigation, namely French-based verbs, serving as a baseline, the verbal {en-} prefix, and the to prepositional object construction, all show a general trend of spreading from South to North. However, further factors such as translation and genre effects appear to play a role as well. The paper makes a case for a multivariate analysis to integrate these factors, which however is not feasible with the corpus in its current status due to data gaps, and delineates plans to include further texts to obtain a balanced corpus data collection for Middle English.

Dieser Eintrag ist Teil der Universitätsbibliographie.

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