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The Development from Case-Forms to Prepositional Constructions in Old English Prose

Sato, Kiriko

The Development from Case-Forms to Prepositional Constructions in Old English Prose

Series: Linguistic Insights - Volume 88

Year of Publication: 2009

Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2009. 231 pp.
ISBN 978-3-03911-763-5 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.340 kg, 0.750 lbs

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Book synopsis

The development from a synthetic to an analytic language is one of the most important topics in English historical syntax. This development is reflected in the gradual decrease of case-forms and the replacement of their functions with equivalent prepositional constructions. Focussing on the Old English period, when case-forms and prepositional constructions overlapped in various functions, this book aims to answer an unresolved question: was there a significant change in the use of case-forms and, alternatively, in the use of prepositions plus case-forms in contexts where both types were possible? The author makes a statistical comparison between prose texts written in the early Old English period and texts of the later Old English period; she also takes into account stylistic features of individual texts. Thus, this book addresses this Old English syntactic issue both from a historical and a stylistic perspective and shows the stages of development during the Old English period.


Contents: Instrumentality – Manner – Accompaniment – Point of Time – Duration of Time – Origin – Specification – Dative Absolute – The Parker ChronicleBoethiusBede – Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies – Ælfric’s Lives of Saints – Wulfstan’s Homilies.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Author: Kiriko Sato, born in 1975 in Japan, graduated from Tokyo Gakugei University in 1998. She specialized in the History of the English Language at the University of Tokyo, where she received her M.A. in 2000 and her Ph.D. in 2006. She was awarded the Matsunami Prize by the Japan Society for Medieval English Studies in 2006. Since 2008, she has been Lecturer in the Department of English, Kumamoto Gakuen University, Kumamoto, Japan.


«The single dimension along which Sato traces the development of competing forms is illuminating. [...] The dimension that she has elaborated and the summaries and generalizations that she has provided are admirable in their clarity.» (Thomas Cable, Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies)


Linguistic Insights. Studies in Language and Communication. Vol. 88
Edited by Maurizio Gotti