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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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SHIHOKO YAMAMOTO The Comment Clause in the Spectator 375


SHIHOKO YAMAMOTO The Comment Clause in the Spectator 1. Introduction The purpose of this work is to show in what ways comment clauses play an extensive part in the Spectator (1711-1712, 1714) in the 18th century, examining, in particular, what distinctive syntactic and se- mantic features are embodied in its comment clauses. The present paper also aims to show that it is by conveying a speaker’s attitude towards a proposition, and establishing an interpersonal relationship between essayists and the audience that comment clauses can function as effective linguistic resources. Of a great number of the contemporary periodicals in the 18th century (e.g., the Examiner, Review, the Medley, the Observer, etc.), the Spectator must be one of the most prominent and influential periodicals in that it had a circulation of 3,000, which was an out- standing record for a daily paper at that time (Bond 1987: xxv). There will be various stylistic and linguistic factors in the success of the Spectator: stylistically it adopted a style of “audience participation” (Bond 1987: xiii), i.e. Mr. Spectator’s active and elaborate interaction with the voices of the letters and covered such a wide range of topics as science, music, literature, religion, art, philosophy, education, the opposite sex and everyday concerns.1 As for politics, in this new publication, Addison and Steele manifest their political stance in the first issue of the Spectator, as in (1). 1 In the first issue of the Spectator, Mr. Spectator described himself as he was, depicting his history such...

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