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Book Information

   

Title: Genitives in Early English
Subtitle: Typology and Evidence
Written By: Cynthia L. Allen
URL: http://www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780199216680
Description:

This book examines the evidence for the development of adnominal genitives
(the knight's sword, the nun's priest's tale, etc.) in English. During the
Middle English period the genitive inflection -es developed into the more
clitic-like 's, but how, when, why, and over how long a time are unclear,
and have been subject to considerable research and discussion. Cynthia L.
Allen draws together her own and others' findings in areas such as case
marking, the nature of syntactic and morphological change, and the role of
processing and pragmatics in the construction of grammars and grammatical
change.

Using evidence derived from a systematic examination of a wide range of
texts, Dr Allen reviews the evidence for the nature of the possessive
inflection in earlier stages of English and the relationship of the -es
possessive to the 'his genitive. In doing so she shows that Middle English
texts are more reliable witnesses to the grammar of Middle English than has
sometimes been assumed. The texts may have been conservative, but their
language, the author argues, is reasonable reflection of the spoken
language, and where the written evidence runs counter to typological
generalization about syntactic change it may be the latter, not the former,
which is in need of qualification. While the book focuses on Middle English
it also contains discussions of linguistic change before and since, and
draws on comparative evidence from other languages, particularly Germanic
languages such as Swedish and Dutch. This ground-breaking book will be of
great interest to scholars and students of Middle English in particular and
the history of English in general.

Publication Year: 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Subject Language(s): English, Middle
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0199216681
ISBN-13: 9780199216680
Pages: 368
Prices: U.K. £ 60.00
U.S. $ 120.00