ISBN : 9780198832263
This volume is the first systematic, corpus-based examination of dative external possessors in Old and Early Middle English and their diachronic development. Modern English is unusual among European languages in not having a productive dative external possessor construction, whereby the possessor is in the dative case and behaves like an element of the sentence rather than part of the possessive phrase. This type of construction was found in Old English, however, especially in expressions of inalienable possession; it appeared in variation with the internal possessors in the genitive case, which then became the only productive possibility in Middle English.
In this book, Cynthia Allen traces the use of dative external possessors in the texts of the Old and early Middle English periods and explores how the empirical data fit with the hypotheses put forward to date. She draws on recent developments in linguistic theory to evaluate both language-internal explanations for the loss of the dative construction and the possible role of language contact, especially with the Brythonic Celtic languages. The book will be of interest to students and researchers in the fields of historical syntax and morphology, language variation and change, and the comparative syntax of the Germanic languages.
2 Dative case in Old English: An overview
3 Investigating dative external possessors in the history of English
4 Body and dative external possessors in Old English
5 Early changes in English
6 Mind and dative external possessors in Old English
7 External possessors in Early Middle English
8 Changes and explanations
Appendix A: Corpus
Appendix B: Vocabulary lists
Appendix C: Notes on searches