Reanalysis and actualisation : an investigation of semantic factors in the extension of nominative case to experiencer arguments of ME liken and other early-english impersonal verbs

This study investigates the extension of nominative case to the experiencer argument of ME liken and selected other impersonal verbs. Using tokens from the Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English and the Parsed Corpus of Early English Correspondence as the primary database, the hypothesis is tested that this process is favoured by the experiencers relative susceptibility to an agentive interpretation. While a regression model of the diachronic development does not confirm the hypothesis, distinct pragmatic functions for personal and impersonal constructions emerge, which continue to be exploited by language users into the late EModE period.

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