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‘Ye whom the charms of grammar please’

Studies in English Language History in Honour of Leiv Egil Breivik


Edited By Kari Haugland, Kevin McCafferty and Kristian A. Rusten

This collection of articles by colleagues and students of Leiv Egil Breivik presents studies within both core and peripheral areas of English historical linguistics. Core topics covered include the development of existential there and related phenomena, word order, the evolution of adverbials, null subjects from Old to Early Modern English, pragmatics and information structure and aspects of discourse. Contributors also address the emergence of new syntactic constructions in the past and present, language contact and aspects of style in Early Modern English letters and medical texts. The ideological discourses of children’s dictionaries and medieval letters of defence are also explored.
The essays are all empirical studies, based on a wide range of corpora (both historical and contemporary) and applying theoretical approaches informed by Systemic-Functional Grammar, grammaticalization theory, dependency grammar, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics and corpus linguistic methods. Issues of methodology, statistics and corpus construction and annotation are also addressed in several contributions.
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Kevin McCafferty, Kari E. Haugland and Kristian A.Rusten: Preface: Charms of grammar/Source of all glamour



Preface: Charms of grammar/Source of all glamour1

On 6 June 2014, Leiv Egil Breivik celebrates his seventieth birthday; at the end of that month, he retires from his post as Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Bergen, where he has been Head of the merged Department of Foreign Languages since 2007. As a central figure in English studies generally in Norway over many years, Leiv Egil will be missed, both in Bergen and nationally, as a valuable, hard-working colleague who has inspired a couple of generations of students and scholars in the field of English linguistics.

The 16 articles collected in this volume are presented to Leiv Egil by colleagues past and present and former students at the University of Bergen and other universities. The papers are arranged in thematic blocs covering a range of topics that Leiv Egil has worked on in the course of his distinguished career: expletives and existential there, adverbials, general grammar, information structure and pragmatics, and discourse. Throughout the volume, the thread that unites chapters is that the authors approach their various topics from historical perspectives, either looking at interesting phenomena at particular historical moments or in particular periods, or studying developments in the English language diachronically.

The Festschrift opens with a section on ‘Existential there and other expletives’. It seems appropriate to begin with this topic, since Leiv Egil is proverbially ‘the guy...

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