Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 October 2015
The present article offers a corpus-based analysis of the diachronic development of the usage profiles of three adverbial non-finite clauses in Modern English: the free adjunct, the verbal gerund and the absolute construction. By treating present-participial adverbial clauses and adverbial gerunds as part of a single adverbial ing-clause network, this article sheds new light on the different semantic and functional-pragmatic factors motivating the formal variation within the ing-clause network. By means of two mixed-model logistic regression analyses, we determine the relative impact of the independent variables of adverbial semantics, position, degree of coreference and length on the language user's choice in (i) whether or not to include augmentation (syndesis) and (ii) whether or not to include an overt subject in the adverbial ing-clause. The resulting picture is one of an emerging adverbial ing-clause network in which the internal variation is determined by principles of processing complexity.
This article was written with joint first authorship, based on a joint data analysis. The research reported in this article was supported by a doctoral grant of the Research Foundation – Flanders, as well as by the FWO-project G0A5412N. The authors would like to thank Christoph Rzymski and Freek Van De Velde for their valuable advice and contributions in the setting up and conducting of the logistic regression analysis. Furthermore, we are grateful to Freek Van De Velde for his help in visualizing the results of the analysis. Finally, we would like to thank Bernd Kortmann and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on the first draft of this article.