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Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax$
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Eric Mathieu and Robert Truswell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198747840.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 August 2021

Persistence as a diagnostic of grammatical status: The case of Middle English negation

Persistence as a diagnostic of grammatical status: The case of Middle English negation

Chapter:
(p.202) 13 Persistence as a diagnostic of grammatical status: The case of Middle English negation
Source:
Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax
Author(s):

Aaron Ecay

Meredith Tamminga

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198747840.003.0013

This chapter proposes the use of persistence effects (repetitiveness in variant choice) to diagnose grammatical relationships between surface forms in cases of language change. We illustrate using Middle English corpus data on the change from ne to not as the English sentence negator. During the transition period, ne and not could co-occur as well as appear independently. Prior accounts differ on whether sentences containing both negators are a distinct third option (Wallage 2008) or represent the independent appearance of ne and not (Frisch 1997). We spell out the predictions that these analyses make for persistence across sentence types, and argue that the persistence data provide a new line of evidence for Wallage’s three-atom analysis.

Keywords:   negation, Middle English, persistence, priming, structural identity

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