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English Comparative Correlatives
Diachronic and Synchronic Variation at the Lexicon-Syntax Interface

AUD$154.95 inc GST

Part of Studies in English Language

  • Date Published: May 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108477215

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  • One of the most intriguing features of languages is that speakers can produce novel grammatical utterances that they have never heard before. Consequently, most linguists agree that the mental grammars of speakers are complex systems that must be more abstract than the input they are exposed to. Yet, linguists differ as to how general and abstract speakers' mental representations have to be to allow this grammatical creativity. This book addresses this issue by empirically investigating one specific construction, English comparative correlatives (e.g., the more you eat, the fatter you get). Drawing on authentic corpus data from Old English to Present-day English varieties around the world, it shows how input frequency and domain-general cognitive principles affect the complex mental network of constructions that underlies speakers' linguistic behaviour. This pioneering and original study will be of interest to scholars and students of English syntax and English historical linguistics.

    • Uses empirical data to provide a theoretical analysis that explains the development of the construction from Old English to Modern English varieties world-wide
    • Provides an analysis that explains diachronic change as well as synchronic variation
    • Shows how the evolutionary stage of a variety of English affects the mental representation of its speakers
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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108477215
    • length: 276 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 157 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • contains: 40 b/w illus. 59 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Previous research
    3. The diachronic evolution of English CCs: a constructionist account
    4. Synchronic properties of the standard British and American English CC construction network
    5. A contrastive view: German versus English comparative correlatives
    6. Variation and mental grammars: the view from World Englishes
    Conclusion: the role of constructional networks.

  • Author

    Thomas Hoffmann, Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
    Thomas Hoffmann is Professor and Chair of English Language and Linguistics at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. He is author of Preposition Placement in English (Cambridge, 2011) and he is currently writing the textbook Construction Grammar: The Structure of English for the Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics series.

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