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Grammar, Rhetoric and Usage in English
Preposition Placement 1500–1900

$26.00 USD

Part of Studies in English Language

  • Date Published: December 2014
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316235874

$ 26.00 USD
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About the Authors
  • The preposition is of particular interest to syntacticians, historians and sociolinguists of English, as its placement within a sentence is influenced by syntactic and sociolinguistic constraints, and by how the 'rules' regarding prepositions have changed over time, as a result of language change, of change in attitudes towards language, and of processes such as standardization. This book investigates preposition placement in the early and late Modern English periods (1500–1900), with a special focus on preposition stranding (The house which I live in) in opposition to pied piping (The house in which I live). Based on a large-scale analysis of precept and usage data, this study reassesses the alleged influence of late eighteenth-century normative works on language usage. It also sheds new light on the origins of the stigmatisation of preposition stranding. This study will be of interest to scholars working on syntax and grammar, corpus linguistics, historical linguistics and sociolinguistics.

    • This large-scale study is based on data collected from approximately 300 precept sources
    • Provides a complete historical account from 1500 to 1900, and an overview of the linguistic situation in Old English and Middle English
    • The empirical data are complemented with a qualitative interpretation
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Nuria Yáñez-Bouza offers a theoretically and empirically rich exploration of the relationship between linguistic practice and precept in the usage of that notorious grammatical shibboleth, preposition stranding, in late modern English. The result is a comprehensive account of eighteenth century attitudes and linguistic habits in the period.' Susan Fitzmaurice, University of Sheffield

    'Comprehensively researched and rigorously analyzed, this brilliantly definitive work mines linguistic, grammatical, rhetorical and literary sources to reveal the complex, interconnected histories of preposition stranding and the developing prescriptive tradition.' Carol Percy, University of Toronto

    'All in all, Yáñez-Bouza's Grammar, Rhetoric and Usage in English fits in nicely with other research in the field and adds an important piece to the socio-historical study of effects of prescriptivism on actual language use. It is a well-structured study which benefits greatly from a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches. This book is suitable for researchers as well as students with a background in syntax.' Carmen Ebner, The Linguist List (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2014
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316235874
    • contains: 22 b/w illus. 22 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Methodology
    3. Eighteenth-century precept
    4. Usage in early and late Modern English
    5. Grammar, rhetoric and style
    6. Latent awareness
    7. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Nuria Yáñez-Bouza, Universidade de Vigo, Spain, and University of Manchester
    Nuria Yáñez-Bouza is a lecturer in English Language at the University of Manchester, and currently holds a Senior Research Fellowship at Universidade de Vigo, Spain.

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