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Split coordination in English: Why we need parsed corpora

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JournalDiachronica. International Journal for Historical Linguistics
DateAccepted/In press - 15 Dec 2017
DatePublished (current) - 5 Nov 2018
Issue number3
Volume35
Pages (from-to)310-337
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In this article we provide a practical demonstration of how syntactically annotated corpora can be used to investigate research questions with a diachronic depth and synchronic breadth that would not otherwise be possible. The phenomenon under investigation, split coordination, affects every type of coordinated constituent (subject/object DPs, predicate and attributive ADJPs, ADVPs, PPs, and DP objects of P) in Old English; and it, or a superficially similar construction, occurs continuously throughout the attested period from approx. 800 to the present day. We bring to bear different types of evidence to argue that split coordination in fact represents two different constructions, one of which remains stable over time while the other is lost in the post-Middle English period.

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