Studies in Honour of Piotr Ruszkiewicz
Edited By Alicja Witalisz
Early Modern English Non-pronominal Self-compounds: A Few Questions :Adam Pasicki
Early Modern English Non-pronominal Self-compounds: A Few Questions
Pedagogical University of Cracow
The term “non-pronominal self-compounds” excludes herself and other reflexive/intensive pronouns. This study will mainly deal with expressions consisting of self followed by a noun or a deverbal adjective, such as self-preservation, self-deceiving and self-endeared, to the exclusion of a great many other types of Early Modern English (EModE) compounds. In all these expressions, self is the non-head element.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED1), self-compounds are a 16th-century innovation, a view borne out by the evidence of the Middle English Dictionary (MED): the only earlier formations from which a line of descent can be drawn to the 16th century were very late Middle English (15th c.) self-wille (with its earliest meaning glossed in MED (s. v. self-wille, (a)) as ‘(the pursuit of) one’s own desires or opinions’), self-witte (MED gloss: ‘one’s own knowledge and intelligence’) and their derivatives, and selfsame. The present study covers only the part of the Early Modern English period between the years 1500 and 1640, corresponding to the Helsinki Corpus (Rissanen et al. 1991) EModE I and EModE II sub-periods. The chronological restriction is due to the idea that during that early phase of their presence in the language self-compounds might show properties lost subsequently, as they acquired an “established” status (term due to Meys 1975: 56). Theoretically, the chronological range of the research might be restricted even further, to cover just...