Volume 39, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


This paper examines the divergent evolutions of the Absolute Construction (AC) in the history of the Germanic languages, with a focus on English and Dutch, and provides an explanation of why only the English AC retained its frequency and productivity rate. Three language-internal factors are appealed to in order to account for this divergence: (i) increased with-augmentation of ACs results in fuzzy boundaries with the more frequently used gerunds as well as (regular) prepositional postmodifying constructions; (ii) the overall higher frequency in English of constructions with -ing-forms (gerunds, free adjuncts, and progressives) invites structural priming; and (iii) a possible typological shift of English from strictly bounded construal to a mixture of bounded and unbounded construal. An additional language-external factor is found in different prescriptivist traditions. English never really opposed the use of ACs whereas prescriptivism in other Germanic languages emphatically did.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error