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Binomials in the History of English
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    MOLENCKI, RAFAŁ 2018. From sicker to sure: the contact-induced lexical layering within the Medieval English adjectives of certainty. English Language and Linguistics, Vol. 22, Issue. 2, p. 283.


Book description

Binomials, such as for and against, dead or alive, to have and to hold, can be broadly defined as two words belonging to the same grammatical category and linked by a semantic relationship. They are an important phraseological phenomenon present throughout the history of the English language. This volume offers a range of studies on binomials, their types and functions from Old English through to the present day. Searching for motivations and characteristic features of binomials in a particular genre or writer, the chapters engage with many linguistic levels of analysis, such as phonology or semantics, and explore the important role of translation. Drawing on philological and corpus-linguistic approaches, the authors employ qualitative and quantitative methods, setting the discussion firmly in the extra-linguistic context. Binomials and their extended forms - multinomials - emerge from these discussions as an important phraseological tool, with rich applications and complex motivations.


‘Binomials in the History of English contains chapters providing detailed, interesting, and highly informative historical descriptions of binomials in English: fixed structures such as to and fro or knife and fork that are joined by a coordinator. Individual chapters contain descriptions of the form and function of these structures in texts taken from all the major periods of English, ranging from the roles that they played in Old English poetry and law to their stylistic uses in modern English novels.'

Charles Meyer - University of Massachusetts, Boston

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These are collated references for the whole volume. They have been divided into four sections: (1) primary sources, which include editions, facsimiles, translations, collections of documents, etc. used by the authors as primary materials; (2) secondary sources: (2a) dictionaries, concordances, corpora and software, (2b) studies concentrating primarily on binomials, and (2c) all the remaining background literature consulted for the purposes of the book.

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