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‘Ye whom the charms of grammar please’

Studies in English Language History in Honour of Leiv Egil Breivik

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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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María José López-Couso and Susana Formoso-Rodríguez: There follows + that-clause: A case of syntactic blend?

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← 54 | 55 → MARÍA JOSÉ LÓPEZ-COUSO AND SUSANA FORMOSO-RODRÍGUEZ

There follows + that-clause: A case of syntactic blend?1

1 Introduction

Present-day English (PDE) grammars characterize it and there in sentences such as (1) and (2) as semantically empty items which serve a purely syntactic function as grammatical subjects (e.g. Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech & Svartvik 1985: 139ff., 1403ff., Huddleston & Pullum 2002: 226, 327, 427).

(1)

It surprised me that she arrived so late.

(2)

There is a dog in the backyard.

In general terms, these two dummies show a division of labour in the contemporary language: while it is an anticipatory pronoun which fills the subject slot in the so-called impersonal pattern with extraposed clauses (it + V + clause), as in (1) above, there normally occupies the subject position in existential and presentational constructions involving postverbal noun phrase (NP) subjects of the type shown in (2) (there + V + NP). Historically, there has also been the predominant slot-filler covering the subject position in ← 55 | 56 → such constructions (Breivik 1983), although it has occasionally been attested in earlier English as an alternative to there in this pattern (Breivik 1983: 257, Mitchell 1985: 625, Haugland 1993: 410). Existential it also survives in a number of English varieties around the world, including East Anglia, Orkney and Shetland, Bahamian Creole and Hong Kong English, among many others (Kortmann et al. 2004, Kortmann &...

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