Volume 35, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714
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The present study is an in-depth, corpus-based analysis of the rise and institutionalization of the indefinite nominal gerund in Late Modern English, considering the observed developments in light of their interactions with functionally related constructions. Based on historical data taken from the Corpus of Late Modern English Texts (version 3.1), we argue that the rise of indefinite nominal gerunds constitutes an instance of , in which the nominal gerund over time gradually comes to exploit a fuller range of paradigmatic properties associated with the nominal class. At the same time, this study investigates the potential influence of on the observed developments. While the results do support the frequently investigated claim that language systems have a (weak) preference for a one-form-one-meaning organization in later stages of their development, the initial emergence of indefinite nominal gerunds can more accurately be explained by allowing as an enabling force of linguistic innovation. The picture presented in this study serves as evidence that the long-term development of linguistic constructions can be the result of  –  – .


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