The Progressive in 19th-Century English: A Process of Integration - Language and Computers 54 (Hardback)Erik Smitterberg
Hardback Published: 01/01/2005
- Not available
The present volume is an empirical, corpus-based study of the progressive in 19th-century English. As the 1800s have been relatively neglected in previous research, and as the study is based on a new cross-genre corpus focusing on this period (CONCE = A Corpus of Nineteenth-Century English), the volume adds significantly to our knowledge of the historical development of the progressive. The use of two separate measures enables an accurate account of the frequency development of the progressive, which is also related to multi-feature/multi-dimensional analyses. Other topics covered include the complexity of progressive verb phrases and the distribution of the construction across linguistic parameters such as clause type. Special attention is paid to progressives that express something beyond purely aspectual meaning. The results show that the progressive became more fully integrated into English grammar over the 19th century, but also that linguistic and extralinguistic parameters affected this integration process; for instance, the construction was more common in women's than in men's private letters. Owing to the wide methodological scope of the study, it is of interest to linguists specializing in corpus linguistics, language variation and change, verbal syntax, the progressive, or the linguistic expression of aspect, either in synchrony or diachrony.