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The Development from Case-Forms to Prepositional Constructions in Old English Prose


Kiriko Sato

The development from a synthetic to an analytic language is one of the most important topics in English historical syntax. This development is reflected in the gradual decrease of case-forms and the replacement of their functions with equivalent prepositional constructions. Focussing on the Old English period, when case-forms and prepositional constructions overlapped in various functions, this book aims to answer an unresolved question: was there a significant change in the use of case-forms and, alternatively, in the use of prepositions plus case-forms in contexts where both types were possible? The author makes a statistical comparison between prose texts written in the early Old English period and texts of the later Old English period; she also takes into account stylistic features of individual texts. Thus, this book addresses this Old English syntactic issue both from a historical and a stylistic perspective and shows the stages of development during the Old English period.
Contents: Instrumentality – Manner – Accompaniment – Point of Time – Duration of Time – Origin – Specification – Dative Absolute – The Parker ChronicleBoethiusBede – Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies – Ælfric’s Lives of Saints – Wulfstan’s Homilies.