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Language Change and Variation from Old English to Late Modern English

A Festschrift for Minoji Akimoto


Edited By Merja Kytö, John Scahill and Harumi Tanabe

This collection reflects Minoji Akimoto’s concern with studies of change in English that are theoretically-informed, but founded on substantial bodies of data. Some of the contributors focus on individual texts and text-types, among them literature and journalism, others on specific periods, from Old English to the nineteenth century, but the majority trace a linguistic process – such as negation, passivisation, complementation or grammaticalisation – through the history of English. While several papers take a fresh look at manuscript evidence, the harnessing of wideranging electronic corpora is a recurring feature methodologically. The linguistic fields treated include word semantics, stylistics, orthography, word-order, pragmatics and lexicography. The volume also contains a bibliography of Professor Akimoto’s writings and an index of linguistic terms.


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MICHIO HOSAKA The Rise of the Complementizer that in the History of English 59


MICHIO HOSAKA The Rise of the Complementizer that in the History of English 1. Introduction The complementizer that in Present-day English has several different grammatical functions: a conjunction introducing a noun clause as in (1a) and an adverb clause as in (1b), a relative pronoun as in (1c), and a relative adverb as in (1d). (1) a. I know that the man won a gold medal at the Olympic Games. b. They whisper to each other so that no one else can hear. c. I know the man that won a gold medal at the Olympic Games. d. I vividly remember the day that we first met. From a structural point of view, however, it is assumed to be base-generated in the same head position of CP. To clarify the relation between its functions and its structure, careful reconsideration should be given diachronically as well as synchronically. The aim of this paper is to investigate the nature of the com- plementizer that from an evolutionary perspective of language. Spe- cifically, assuming the emergence of a functional projection in the course of linguistic evolution, we investigate the change from para- taxis to subordination and show how embedded clauses such as nominal, adjectival and adverbial developed in the history of Ger- manic, especially English. This paper is based on a part of my presentation at the 26th Conference of the English Linguistic Society of Japan held at University of Tsukuba on No- vember 15-16, 2008. I am grateful to the audience for...

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