LINGUIST List 29.2809

Fri Jul 06 2018

Books: Article Emergence in Old English: Sommerer

Editor for this issue: Jeremy Coburn <>

Date: 27-Jun-2018
From: Pablo Dominguez Andersen <>
Subject: Article Emergence in Old English: Sommerer
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Title: Article Emergence in Old English
Subtitle: A Constructionalist Perspective
Series Title: Topics in English Linguistics [TiEL]
Published: 2018
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton

Book URL:

Author: Lotte Sommerer
Hardback: ISBN: 9783110539370 Pages: 357 Price: U.S. $ 114.99

This book investigates nominal determination in Old English and the emergence of the definite and the indefinite article. Analyzing Old English prose texts, it discusses the nature of linguistic categorization and argues that a usage-based, cognitive, constructionalist approach best explains when, how and why the article category developed. It is shown that the development of the OE demonstrative 'se' (that) and the OE numeral 'an' (one) should not be told as a story of two individual, grammaticalizing morphemes, but must be reconceptualized in constructional terms. The emergence of the morphological category ‘article’ follows from constructional changes in the linguistic networks of OE speakers and especially from ‘grammatical constructionalization’ (i.e. the emergence of a new, schematic, mostly procedural form-meaning pairing which previously did not exist in the constructicon). Next to other functional-cognitive reasons, the book especially highlights analogy and frequency effects as driving forces of linguistic change.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English, Old (ang)

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 06-Jul-2018