The Early English Impersonal Construction: An Analysis of Verbal and Constructional Meaning

Hardcover | July 12, 2012

byRuth Mohlig-Falke

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The Early English Impersonal Construction aims to demonstrate that an understanding of the functional and semantic aspects of impersonal verbs in Old and Middle English can shed light on questions that remain about these verbs today. The impersonal construction has been a topic of extensiveresearch for over a hundred years. But three quandaries - their seemingly unsystematic development, the gradual loss of impersonal uses, and the difficulty of aligning this with structural changes in early English - have made explanations for their development unsatisfactory. Mohlig-Falke offers a detailed analysis of impersonal verbs within the framework of cognitive and constructional grammar. She focuses on the loss of the impersonal construction as a consequence of a redefinition of the grammatical categories of subject and object, and describes the diachronicdevelopment of impersonal verbs as a result of the complex interaction of verbal and constructional meaning. Her research comprises all verbs which are recorded in impersonal use in Old and Middle English, and takes account of their full range of syntactic uses. It is thus the most comprehensiveinvestigation of the impersonal construction in early English available to date.

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The Early English Impersonal Construction aims to demonstrate that an understanding of the functional and semantic aspects of impersonal verbs in Old and Middle English can shed light on questions that remain about these verbs today. The impersonal construction has been a topic of extensiveresearch for over a hundred years. But three q...

Ruth Mohlig-Falke is Lecturer in English Linguistics at the University of Heidelberg.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:July 12, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199777721

ISBN - 13:9780199777723

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Table of Contents

1. The Impersonal Construction in English2. Functional Aspects of Old English Grammar3. Aspects of Verb Meaning and Constructional Meaning: Theory and Methodology4. Semantic Analysis of Old English Verbs Capable of Impersonal Use5. Investigation of the Impersonal Syntactic Uses of Old English Verbs6. A Comparison with Alternative Syntactic Constructions7. The Diachronic Perspective8. ConclusionAppendicesBibliographyIndex