Volume 68, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0108-8416
  • E-ISSN: 2212-9715
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A split infinitive construction denotes a type of syntactic tmesis in which a word or a phrase, especially an adverb, occurs between the infinitive marker to and the verb. The early instances of the split infinitive in English date back to the 13th century, when a personal pronoun, an adverb or two or more words could appear in such environments (Visser 1963-1973 II: 1038-1045). This paper investigates the split infinitive in Middle English with the following objectives: a) to trace the origin and development of the construction; b) to analyse the nature of the splitting adverb in terms of its etymology and lexico-grammatical features; and c) to examine the prosodic patterns contributing to the acceptance of particular splitting combinations. The source of evidence comes from the following corpora: Helsinki Corpus of English Texts, Innsbruck Corpus of Middle English Prose, Penn-Parsed Corpora of Historical English, Middle English Medical Texts, Middle English Grammar Corpus, and the Malaga Corpus of Late Middle English Scientific Prose.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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