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Academic Paper


Title: Anaphoric Reference in Early Modern English: the case of said and same
Author: Alex Ho-Cheong Leung
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.northumbria.ac.uk/sd/academic/sass/about/humanities/linguistics/linguisticsstaff/alexleung1/
Institution: Northumbria University
Author: Wim van der Wurff
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/elll/people/profile/w.a.m.van-der-wurff
Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics
Abstract: In this paper we investigate NPs of the form the said + N and the same, as in (1) and (2).

(1) all the olde holy doctours [...], that [...] expowne the sayde wordes of Chryste to be ment of the very eatynge of hys flesshe (EEBO, 1533, T. More, The answere)
(2) nat only whan thou hast the consolacion of grace: but whan thou with humylyte sufferest the subtraccion of the same (EEBO, 1517, W. Atkinson, A treatyse)

In (1), the word said signals that the NP refers back to an entity already mentioned. In (2), the expression the same is also anaphoric. It may convey some added emphatic force (Rissanen 1999: 196) but as the OED s.v. same B4a says, it is basically expresses 'the aforesaid person or thing; often merely the equivalent of a personal pronoun'.

Frequency data for these two anaphoric expressions in EModE show a gradual increase followed by a decline. The reason for this, we will argue, lies in functional factors having to do with the overall system of referring expressions.

The model we will use is that of Gundel et al (1993) (see also Ariel 1990, 2001, 2004). It posits a Givenness Hierarchy as in (3).

(3) category: in > activated > familiar > uniquely > referential > type
focus identifiable identifiable

form: personal that/this/ that N the N indefinite a N
pronoun this N this N

The categories show the cognitive status of referents; the forms are the ones appropriate for referring to the relevant entities in PDE. As Gundel et al (1993) point out, forms can also be used to refer to entities higher up the hierarchy. Their data show that in PDE the form the + N in particular is quite versatile: of 280 tokens, from a variety of texts, 30 had referents that were uniquely identifiable, 47 familiar, 95 activated and 30 in focus. Investigation of EModE data suggests that the + N was similarly variable in this period.

We will argue that it is this variability of the + N that caused the increase in frequency of the expressions the said + N and the same in EModE. Unlike the + N, they were unambiguous markers of activated or in-focus status of their referents and underwent incipient grammaticalisation in this function – a fairly natural development, since both expressions come from sources that focus on referential identity.

However, another property of the forms might work against the development. Briefly, they are somewhat long for the limited amount of information they convey. It is well established (see Gundel et al 1993: 285 and Ariel 1990: 81-83 for) that categories higher up the givenness hierarchy generally tend to be shorter. From this perspective the two forms in (1) and (2) are not ideal. In establishing themselves as conventional forms for picking out in-focus or activated referents, the same and the said + N would be competing with it, this, that, this + N and the +N, which are all either shorter or more informative. It is this factor, we argue, which prevented the full grammaticalisation of the forms and ultimately led to their decline.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: Newcastle University, U.K.
Publication Info: Paper at The 2nd International Workshop on the Structure of the Noun Phrase in English: Synchronic and Diachronic Explorations (NP2)


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