By Elly van Gelderen

ISBN-10: 1556199880

ISBN-13: 9781556199882

ISBN-10: 9027227608

ISBN-13: 9789027227607

ISBN-10: 902729917X

ISBN-13: 9789027299178

This publication brings jointly a couple of likely particular phenomena within the background of English: the advent of targeted reflexive pronouns (e.g. myself), the lack of verbal contract and pro-drop, and the disappearance of morphological Case. It presents mammoth numbers of examples from previous and heart English texts displaying someone cut up among first, moment, and 3rd individual pronouns. Extending an research by Read more...

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Additional info for A history of English reflexive pronouns : person, self, and interpretability

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Its reconstructed form, indicated by ‘*’, is *s(w). In Germanic, this becomes *sik ‘self-’ (as it still is in, for instance, Modern Yiddish) and *sis ‘self-’. Its use in Modern German is reduced to the third person reflexive sich, for both accusative and dative (cf. g. Rose 1976). In Scandinavian, the reflexive pronoun becomes a verbal inflection, indicating intransitive passivity. In other Germanic languages, a special reflexive disappears (cf. Faltz 1985: 210ff, 1989). This is the situation in Old Saxon, and in Old and Early Middle English, where a regular pronoun (indicated in bold) is used reflexively1 as in (1): 1.

Middle English material is less readily available in computerized form. I have used the computerized versions of Layamon’s Brut (both Caligula and Otho), Gawain and the Green Knight, and Chaucer’s entire works. I have also examined texts from the Katherine Group (with the help of the Penn-Helsinki annotated computer version), The York Plays (with the help of Kinneavy’s Concordance) and Cursor Mundi. For Early Modern English texts, I have relied on The Paston Letters and the First Folio Edition of Shakespeare’s works (both available from Oxford Text Archive).

The constructions are not substantially different from the ones in Beowulf and I will therefore not list them: except for subjects, most have the indefinite declension, indicating that they are still adjectives. In this text, the third person singular forms do not exclusively have definite inflection as 48 A HISTORY OF ENGLISH REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS they do in Beowulf. ’ ‘Self’ is used most often to modify third person singular pronouns (16 times), but considering the total numbers of pronouns, the difference between person and number is not significant, as in Beowulf.

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A history of English reflexive pronouns : person, self, and interpretability by Elly van Gelderen


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