Skip to main content
×
Home

Same time, across time: simultaneity clauses from Late Modern to Present-Day English*

  • CRISTIANO BROCCIAS (a1) and NICHOLAS SMITH (a2)
Abstract

In this article we offer a diachronic analysis of simultaneity subordinator as against the background of simultaneity subordinators while, whilst, when from 1650 to the end of the twentieth century. The present survey makes use of data extracted from the British English component of ARCHER (version 3.1), focusing in particular on fiction, the register par excellence for the use of simultaneity subordinators. We analyse our data according to a selection of parameters (ordering, verb type, duration, tense and aspect, subject identity, simultaneity type) and show that, against a background of relative stability, the major change is a dramatic increase in the frequency of simultaneity as-clauses from the first half of the nineteenth century onwards. Adapting the historical work on stylistic change by Biber and Finegan (1989, 1997), as well as theoretical and experimental accounts of the semantics of English simultaneity markers, we highlight an interesting parallelism between the spread of as-clauses in oral narrative from childhood to adulthood and the spread of as-clauses in modern fiction. In either case, the spread of as may be symptomatic of an evolution in narrative techniques, particularly in respect of the means by which complex events are typically represented.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Adamson Sylvia. 1998. Literary language. In Romaine Suzanne (ed.), The Cambridge history of the English language, vol. 4, 589692. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Adamson Sylvia. 1999. Literary language. In Lass Roger (ed.), The Cambridge history of the English language, vol. 3, 539653. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Beal Joan. 2004. English in modern times. 1700–1945. London: Arnold.
Biber Douglas, Finegan Edward & Atkinson Dwight. 1994. ARCHER and its challenges: compiling and exploring A Representative Corpus of Historical English Registers. In Fries Udo, Tottie Gunnel & Schneider Peter (eds.), 114. Creating and using English language corpora. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Biber Douglas. 2008. Corpora and the history of English: ARCHER 3 and beyond. Paper presented at the ARCHER symposium, Freiburg, 12 December 2008.
Biber Douglas & Finegan Edward. 1989. Drift and the evolution of English style: A history of three genres. Language 65, 487517.
Biber Douglas & Finegan Edward. 1997. Diachronic relations among speech–based and written registers in English. In Nevalainen Terttu & Kahlas-Tarkka Leena (eds.), To explain the present: Studies in the changing English language in honour of Matti Rissanen, 253–75. Helsinki: Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki.
Biber Douglas, Johansson Stig, Leech Geoffrey, Conrad Susan & Finegan Edward. 1999. Longman grammar of spoken and written English. Harlow: Longman.
Broccias Cristiano. 2006a. The construal of simultaneity in English with special reference to as-clauses. Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics 4, 97133.
Broccias Cristiano. 2006b. The English simultaneity network: The case of as and while-clauses. LACUS Forum 32, 3341.
Broccias Cristiano. 2008. Imperfectivity and transience: The two sides of the progressive aspect in simultaneity clauses. Journal of English Linguistics 36, 155–78.
Christ Oliver. 1994. A modular and flexible architecture for an integrated corpus query system. Proceedings of COMPLEX ‘94. Third Conference on Computational Lexicography and Text Research (Budapest, 7–10 July 1994), 23–32. Budapest.
Declerck Renaat. 1997. When-clauses and temporal structure. London: Routledge.
Declerck Renaat (in collaboration with Susan Reed & Bert Cappelle). 2006. The grammar of the English tense system. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Diessel Holger. 2008. Iconicity of sequence. A corpus-based analysis of the positioning of temporal adverbial clauses in English. Cognitive Linguistics 19, 457–82.
Evert Stefan. 2006. How random is a corpus? The library metaphor. Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik 54, 177–90.
Fludernik Monika. 1996. Towards a ‘natural’ narratology. London: Routledge.
Garside Roger & Smith Nicholas. 1997. A hybrid grammatical tagger: CLAWS 4. In Garside Roger, Leech Geoffrey & McEnery Anthony (eds.), Corpus annotation: Linguistic information from computer text corpora, 102–21. Harlow: Addison Wesley Longman.
González-Cruz Ana I. 2007. On the subjectification of adverbial clause connectives: Semantic and pragmatic considerations on the development of while-clauses. In Lenker Ursula & Meurman-Solin Anneli (eds.), Connectives in the history of English, 145–66. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Halliday M. A. K. 2004. An introduction to Functional Grammar, 2nd edition. London: Hodder Arnold.
Kortmann Bernd. 1997. Adverbial subordination: A typology and history of adverbial subordinators based on European languages. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Morris Lori. 1996. Time and cause in the English connector as. LACUS Forum 23, 417–28.
Övergaard Gerd. 1987. Duration, progression, and the progressive form in as-clauses. In Lindblad Ishrat & Ljung Magnus (eds.), Proceedings from the Third Nordic Conference for English Studies, vol. 1, 265–80. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International.
Pasicki Adam. 1983. While-clauses in Old and Early Middle English. Folia Linguistica Historica 4, 287303.
Pasicki Adam. 1987. Temporal adverbials in Old and Middle English. Lublin: Radakcja Wydawnictwo Katelickiego Uniwersytetu Lubelskiego.
Quirk Randolph, Greenbaum Sidney, Leech Geoffrey & Svartvik Jan. 1995. A comprehensive grammar of the English language. Harlow: Longman.
Schmiedtová Barbara. 2004. At the same time. . .: The expression of simultaneity in learner varieties. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Silva Marilyn. 1991. Simultaneity in children's narratives: The case of when, while and as. Journal of Child Language 18, 641–62.
Slobin Dan. 1988. The development of clause chaining in Turkish child language. Paper presented at the Fourth Conference on Turkish Linguistics, Middle East Technical University.
Smith Nicholas. 1997. Improving a tagger. In Garside Roger, Leech Geoffrey & McEnery Anthony (eds.), Corpus annotation: Linguistic information from computer text corpora, 137–50. Harlow: Addison Wesley Longman.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

English Language & Linguistics
  • ISSN: 1360-6743
  • EISSN: 1469-4379
  • URL: /core/journals/english-language-and-linguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 15 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 51 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.