Genitive variation in letters, history writing and sermons in Late Middle and Early Modern English

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This paper analyzes genitive variation from about 1420 to 1640 in three genres, letters, history writing and sermons. The corpus material is selected from the <i>Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English</i>, second edition (PPCME2), the <i>Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Early Modern English</i> (PPCEME) and the <i>Corpus of Early English Correspondence</i> (CEEC). The occurrences of the genitive variants, the <i>s</i>Lgenitive and the <i>of</i>Lgenitive, are quantified and categorized according to the factors of possessor weight, topicality and genitive relation. The corpus analysis shows that these factors have a significant impact on genitive variation in all the genres. The analysis also shows that the genres differ significantly from each other. However, the study shows no clear change over time, neither within the genres nor over the period as a whole.


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