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Change in Complementation: Principles Explaining Variation and Change Affecting Sentential Complements in Recent English

Juhani Rudanko

This research project is an investigation of variation, change, and innovation in the system of English predicate complementation during the Late Modern English period and in current English. The study of innovation in grammar is part of the study of grammatical change, with the term “innovation” laying a focus on the emergence and spread of grammatical patterns and structures that are novel from the point of view of the recent history of the system of the language.

The project consists of studies of principles that explain variation, change, and innovation in complementation and of the application of such principles to patterns and structures in English. The concept of construction is used to account for argument structure patterns and their productivity, and the theoretical framework adopted is cognitive-constructionist in its orientation. The constructions in question are also investigated and explained in relation to constructions with which they are in competition.

The investigation is based on large electronic corpora. The corpora include the full Bank of English Corpus, of approximately 600 million words and the new Corpus of Contemporary American English, of some 400 million words. Further, the project makes use of the Corpus of Nineteenth-Century English, which has been co-developed by the author as part of an earlier international project on change and variation in English. Another corpus that is used is the Strathy Corpus, which is the largest corpus of current Canadian English that is available to scholars. The use of large electronic corpora also makes it possible to pay attention in the project to the influence of text type, which is important because certain text types are more open to innovation than others.

The research enhances our knowledge of the process of grammatical change and factors involved in such change today, and also contributes to our understanding of the interface of syntax and semantics.


Listed below are some publications that have originated from this project so far:

Complementation in British  and American English

2011 Changes in Complementation in British and American English. Corpus-Based Studies on Non-Finite Complements in Recent English. Palgrave Macmillan.

2010 "Explaining Grammatical Variation and Change: a Case Study of Complement Selection in American English over Three Decades". Journal of English Linguistics (SAGE Publications). Volume 38, Issue 1, pp. 4-24.

2009 "Exploring change in the system of English predicate complementation, with evidence from corpora of recent English" in Antoinette Renouf and Andrew Kehoe, eds., Corpus Linguistics: Refinements and Reassessments, Rodopi: Amsterdam, pp. 365-380

2007 "Text Type and Current Grammatical Change in British and American English: a Case Study with Evidence from the Bank of English Corpus,” English Studies 88, 465-483, 19 pp.

2006 “Emergent Alternation in Complement Selection: the Spread of the Transitive ‘into -ing’ Construction in British and American English,” Journal of English Linguistics 34, 312-331, 20 pp.

2006 “Watching English Grammar Change: a Case Study on Complement Selection in British and American English,” English Language and Linguistics 10, 31-48, 18 pp.

2005 “Lexico-Grammatical Innovation in Current British and American English: a Case Study on the Transitive into -ing Pattern with Evidence from the Bank of English Corpus,” Studia Neophilologica 77, 171-187, 17 pp.

Complementation in British  and American English

2005 Luodes, L. & Rudanko, J. Complementation in British and American English: Corpus-Based Studies on Prepositions and Complement Clauses. University Press of America.
Corpora and  Complementation 2000 Corpora and Complementation: Tracing Sentential Complementation Patterns of Nouns, Adjectives, and Verbs over the Last Three Centuries. University Press of America.

Conference papers

2008 “Exploring Grammatical Change in Twentieth-Century American English, with Evidence from the TIME Corpus,” 15th International Conference on English Historical Linguistics ICEHL, August 24-30, University of Munich, Germany. The paper was presented on August 25.

2008 “Recent Change in Core Grammar: a Case Study Based on Corpus Evidence,” American Association for Corpus Linguistics AACL 2008, March 13-15, Brigham Young University. Organized by Mark Davies, Brigham Young University. The paper was presented on March 15.

2007 “Exploring the Spread of the ‘to ‘-ing’ Pattern: the Case of ‘Accustomed’ and ‘Unaccustomed’,” ICAME 28, Stratford upon Avon, May 23-27, 2007. The paper was presented on May 25, 2007.

2006 “On a Class of Innovative Resultatives in American and Australian English,” The American Association for Applied Corpus Linguistics Meeting in Flagstaff, Arizona, October 20-22.

2005 “Complements of Consent,” a Case Study on Variation and Change in Complement Selection in Recent Centuries,” Studies in the History of the English Language SHEL 4, Flagstaff, Arizona, September 30-October 1, 2005.

2005 “Innovation in Complement Selection in British and American English: a Case Study with Evidence form the Bank of English Corpus, The First International Conference on the Linguistics of Contemporary English, Edinburgh, Scotland, June 23 to June 26, 2005. The paper was delivered on June 24, 2005.

2005 “On a Functional Factor Affecting Change and Variation in English: a Case Study with Evidence from Large Corpora,” Språkets Funktion 4, May 24 to May 25, 2005. The paper, delivered on May 24, 2005, was an invited paper.

2005 “Grammatical Change in British and American English: a Case Study with Evidence from the Bank of English Corpus,” International Computer Archive of Modern and Medieval English ICAME 26 and American Association of Applied Corpus Linguistics AAACL 6, joint meeting, May 12 to May 15, 2005. Hosted by the English Language Institute and the Department of English, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The paper was presented on May 12.

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Muutettu: 9.12.2011 12.25 Muokkaa

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