Grammaticalisation, contact and corpora

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The purpose of this paper is to outline the diachronic development of English adverbial connectives, mainly subordinators and prepositions, from Old to Present-day English. In Old English, the use of the subordination markers <i>&#254;e</i> and <i>&#254;&#230;t</i> forming part of the adverbial subordinator and the gradual increase of <i>&#254;e</i> is of interest. The most important developments in the Middle English period are the simplification and grammaticalisation of phrasal adverbial subordinators and the emergence of new connectives, mainly borrowed from French or Latin. In Early Modern English, many of these new items are established in the language and their use is spread from formal to less formal genres of text. In Late Modern English new, mainly genre- and registerbased variation in the frequencies of near-synonymous connectives can be traced. The survey is based on a number of English historical corpora.


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