English from 1500-2000
Edited By Christiane Dalton-Puffer, Dieter Kastovsky and Nikolaus Ritt
MINOJI AKIMOTO: On the Decline of after and forth in Verb Phrases 11
MINOJI AKIMOTO AOYAMA GAKUIN UNIVERSITY On the Decline of after and forth in Verb Phrases1 1. Introduction This paper discusses processes of replacement and decline with after and forth in verb phrases, such as call after and cast forth. Grammatically, verb + after forms are prepositional verbs, and verb + forth forms are phrasal verbs (Quirk et al. 1985: 1150-1167). Broadly speaking, prepositional verbs do not allow object insertion (call after the man vs. *call the man after), but phrasal verbs do allow object insertion, particularly pronouns, for which it is obligatory (cast forth the man, cast the man forth, cast him forth) and show more variety of metaphorical meaning.2 During the Middle English period (1200-1500), after was often used where for would be employed in present-day English, such as call after, long after and wait after. However, for has replaced after in such phrases nowadays and the use of after has particularly been confined to a minor group of verbs, such as hanker after and thirst after. This change from after to for took place around the 15th and was completed by about the 18th century, although some archaic forms still remained. Sinclair (1989: 451-452) lists 15 phrasal verbs (in my terms, prepositional verbs) with after in current English. A similar, but not identical change took place with forth. This adverb was frequently used and productive during the Middle English period. But in the course of time forth gradually became less and less frequent. In Modern English, like after,...
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