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Early Modern English again: a corpus study and semantic analysis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 December 2014

Theoretical English Linguistics, Department of English Studies, University of Graz, Heinrichstr. 36/II, 8010 Graz,
Descriptive and Theoretical Linguistics, English Department, University of Tübingen, Wilhelmstr. 50, 72074 Tübingen,


This article investigates uses of the adverb again in Early Modern English (EModE) correspondence. The study collects occurrences of again and analyses their interpretation. It reveals interesting differences in the use of again between EModE and Late Modern English (LModE) as well as Present-day English (PDE). To bring out the grammatical significance of the results, we connect the study methodologically as closely as possible with Beck, Berezovskaya & Pflugfelder's (2009) study of LModE/PDE correspondence. We show that the key diachronic alteration we observe when considering EModE is not just numerical in nature but also qualitatively distinct from the later change at the transition between LModE and PDE. At the heart of our proposal is the finding that while a structural approach to again (Rapp & von Stechow 1999; Beck 2005) is successful for characterizing the transition between LModE and PDE, a uniform analysis for the entire diachronic trajectory is not warranted; a combined theoretical modelling is required instead. Specifically, a lexical analysis relying on counterdirectionality (e.g. Fabricius-Hansen 2001) is required to capture the differences in the EModE data.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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