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Some notes on the distribution of the quantifier <i>all</i> in Middle English

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Abstract

Through a study of the Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English, Second Edition (PPCME2), this paper reveals that the quantifier <i>all</i> in Middle English (ME) exhibits the following distributional properties: it almost never follows noun phrases, regardless of whether they are subjects or objects; ME <i>all</i> cannot precede object pronouns; and with subject pronouns both the &#8220;<i>all</i>-pronoun&#8221; and the &#8220;pronoun-<i>all</i>&#8221; orders are observed with approximately the same frequency. The present paper proposes that the grammatical person of subject pronouns and the clause type have an effect on the choice between the &#8220;<i>all</i>-pronoun&#8221; and the &#8220;pronoun-<i>all</i>&#8221; orders: e.g. the first/second person subject favors the &#8220;pronoun-<i>all</i>&#8221; order, whereas a third person pronominal subject tends to follow the quantifier <i>all</i>. The results also show that the distribution by grammatical person is statistically significant.

References

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