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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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FUJIO NAKAMURA Uncovering of Rare or Unknown Usages: A History of seem Meaning ‘to pretend’ 217


FUJIO NAKAMURA Uncovering of Rare or Unknown Usages: A History of seem Meaning ‘to pretend’* 1. Significance of analyses of particular text types such as private diaries and personal letters English historical linguists have, based primarily upon serious literary texts, done much to describe and explain both the stability of and change within the English language over time. Even in the early 21st century, however, sundry evidence refuting accepted ideas about the history of English can be encountered from the reading of documents such as private diaries and personal letters which were not intended for publication and have remained linguistically unanalysed. Here, however, we must not jump to conclusions: we must analyse more and * This paper was excerpted from another paper I read at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea, 29 August – 1 September 2007, held at the University of Joensuu, Finland. Here, I should like to acknowledge my appre- ciation of the useful comments and questions which I received from Professor Ilse Wischer, University of Potsdam, Professor Hans H. Hock, University of Il- linois at Urbana-Champaign, Professor Pieter A. M. Seuren, University of Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, and Professor Brigitte L. M. Bauer, Uni- versity of Texas. Also I should like to record my appreciation for the helpful comments and questions made about an earlier draft of that paper by Linguists at VARIENG, University of Helsinki, especially by Professor Matti Rissanen, Professor Terttu Nevalainen, Dr Matti Kilpiö, Dr Leena Kahlas-Tarkka and Dr Arja Nurmi. I...

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