The Cambridge History of the English Language, Volume 4: 1776-1997
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This volume deals with the history of the English language from 1776 to the present day. An extensive introduction details the changing socio-historical setting in which English has developed in response to a continuing background of diversity as it was transplanted to North America and beyond. Separate chapters on pronunciation, syntax, and vocabulary chronicle the core linguistic features of the language during this period. In addition, there are chapters on English as a literary language, English grammar and usage, and place names. A separate volume on North American English is in preparation.
T h e OED2 p e r c e n t a g e s are of the s a m p l e from v o l u m e 1 of the s e c o n d edition of the OED (1989), representing a slightly l o n g e r chronological r a n g e but taken from only the first one-twentieth of the alphabet. T h e 'Recent' percentages are an average of the five corpuses u s e d above that r e c o r d e d n e w w o r d s from about a twenty-five-year period, 1963—88: SOED OED2 Recent Native formations 25.6 81.0 91.7 Loanwords 70.4 18.8 6.4 4.0 0.3
pronouns have always had strong (stressed) and weak (unstressed) forms in speech; see CHELl: 144 on OE, and note, for instance, the irregular development of the long vowel in you (CHEE III, forthcoming). However, the modern weak forms (e.g. / m / 'em 'them', / i / 'he') do not appear to encourage confusion or syncretism. One kind of case selection, objective ~ subjective, only affects pronominal NPs in ModE, and there has been real change here during our period in the following environments: (A)
only an adjective head of AP, and so on. One solution is to analyse the NP the poor as headless, its presumed 113 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 David Denison nominal head missing by ellipsis (Huddleston 1984: 326-7; Allerton 1995). For convenience I shall, however, refer to the adjective as head of the NP, following Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech & Svartvik (1985: 7.23-6) and Rissanen (CHEEllI, forthcoming). Rissanen shows that in eModE, adjectives acting as NP heads
horn worthy of note, and Barber (1964: 132—3), cited by Strang (1970: 58), detects a revival of the ^-genitive at the expense of the ^genitive in such NPs as biography's charm. Conversely, however, some examples from Jane Austen, cited by Phillipps (1970: 163), are scarcely possible now: (77) a. and that Mr. Elliott's idea [= the idea of Mr Elliott] always produced irritation in both, was beyond a doubt. (1818 Austen, Persuasion II.xii.107) b. and his sight [= the sight of him] was so
meanings (Palmer 1988: 160—1). It is always complemented by a /^-infinitive. (Visser points out that newspaper headlines routinely omit finite B E in this construction — as elsewhere.) In ME and eModE, this usage had a full paradigm, with both participles and an infinitive, but the last generations able to use modal B E freely in this way were alive in the early decades of the nineteenth century: (219) a. You will be to visit me in prison with a basket of provisions (1816 Austen, Mansfield Park