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Syntax, Style and Grammatical Norms

English from 1500-2000


Edited By Christiane Dalton-Puffer, Dieter Kastovsky and Nikolaus Ritt

The volume features a selection of new work presented at the 2004 meeting of the International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL). Main conference themes reflected in this volume are: the maturation and broadening of historical corpus linguistics, a new interest in English for Specific Purposes as a diachronic phenomenon, and the role of grammar writing in the process of change. A further thematic strand of this book is the significance of functional aspects in the development of grammar and discourse, especially in domains beyond phonology and morphology. Several contributions focus on the operation of socio-pragmatic and functional factors in historically identifiable social networks, especially in the 18 th century. Apart from that there is also a strong emphasis on developments in the 19 th and 20 th centuries.


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GÜNTER ROHDENBURG: The Role of Functional Constraints in the Evolution of the English Complementation System 143


GÜNTER ROHDENBURG UNIVERSITY OF PADERBORN The Role of Functional Constraints in the Evolution of the English Complementation System1 1. Introduction: a survey of relevant changes Over the past few centuries, English has experienced a massive restructuring of its system of sentential complementation, which may be referred to as the Great Complement Shift.2 In charting some of these developments, I shall focus on the way in which certain (major) extra-semantic constraints, which appear to be valid universally, either speed up or delay the changes involved. We start by surveying the four areas of change selected for this paper. Perhaps the most important set of changes is provided by the establishment of the gerund as a second type of non-finite complement (cf., e.g., Fanego 1996a, Rudanko 2000, Vosberg 2003a, Rohdenburg forthcoming a). Examples (1)-(3) represent the extension of pre- positional gerunds and directly linked gerunds at the expense of infinitival complements. x The establishment of the gerund at the expense of infinitives (and that-clauses) (1) She delighted to do it. ĺ She delighted in doing it. 1 This study was carried out within the Paderborn research project Determinants of Grammatical Variation in English, which is supported by the German Research Foundation (Grant Ro 2271/1-3). 2 Some studies exploring this subject area include the following: Kjellmer (1980); Fanego (1996a,b, 2004a,b); Rudanko (1998, 1999, 2000); Mair (2002, forthcoming); Vosberg (2003a,b); De Smet (2005); De Smet and Cuyckens (forthcoming); Rohdenburg (1992, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2003, forthcoming a). 144 Günter...

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