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Germanic vs French fixed expressions in Middle English prose: Towards a corpus-based historical English phraseology

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Abstract

Based on an analysis of the Innsbruck Prose Corpus, this paper gives evidence of the West Germanic heritage in Middle English fixed expressions. The samples include the non-French and non-modern use of prepositions and of the zeroarticle in prepositional phrases with adjectives (<i>with loud word</i>), moreover some seemingly German but in fact West Germanic idioms in Middle English, twin formulas with <i>and </i>marked by concatenating formal features, such as rhyme, alliteration and repetition, and the special syntagms Adj + N, N + N and a few comparisons with <i>as</i>. A final chapter deals with complex predicates headed by<i>to do, to get, to work </i>and <i>to make</i>. <i>To make + N</i>, as the youngest of the patterns investigated, shows that predicates with the same head may have different ages:<i>to make haste </i>is a relative oldtimer, <i>to make war </i>is an evergreen, and <i>to make love </i>a fairly recent coining.

References

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