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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: I think that I will be after making love to one of them: A revised account of Irish English be after V-ing and its Irish source


← 196 | 197 → KEVIN MCCAFFERTY

I think that I will be after making love to one of them:1A revised account of Irish English be after V-ing and its Irish source

1 Introduction: Future or perfect or both?

One of the rarest constructions surveyed for eWAVE, the Electronic world atlas of varieties of English (Kortmann & Lunkenheimer 2011), is the ‘after-perfect’, which is reported as ‘pervasive or obligatory’ in just two of 74 varieties: Irish English (IrE) and Newfoundland English.2 The presence of the after-perfect in the latter variety is attributable to heavy Irish emigration to Newfoundland. In IrE, the construction is a transfer from Irish that made its first appearance in texts representing IrE in the 1670s. Its prototypical present-day use is illustrated in (1).


The mother, played by Mia Farrow, says ‘Ah son, I’ve some terrible news altogether for you, your poor father’s after dyin’.’ (O’Connor 1994: 229)

← 197 | 198 → Here, reference is to an event in the immediate past (the father’s death) which the mother in this case knows is news to her son. Given its strong association today with connotations of recency or immediacy, and the additional implication of news value, the construction is often termed the ‘hot-news perfect’, following the terminology introduced by McCawley (1973) to describe the various senses of the perfect in English. Other labels found in the literature include ‘after-perfect’ (e.g. Filppula 1999: 99–107, Ronan 2005, Fritz 2006) and...

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