The growth of the significance of syntax in the course of the history of English
Randolph Quirk states that there are open and closed clsaaes of words in Modern English. He calls nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs open classes because they are indefinitely extendable. By contrast, form words are called closed classes because they are not extended with new members. They display a tendency to preserve their individuality. They pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliary verbs. As for the change in the nature of parts of speech, it mostly concerns open classes. If one depicts the relationship and borderlines among the open classes diagrammatically, one can see that such word-forms as (to) look and (a) look should be placed in the overlapping areas between the classes of verbs and nouns and nouns – adjectives, respectively. The number and size of the overlapping areas in parts of speech largely depend on the structural type of the language. Lang. of synthetic inflecting type have clear-cut borders betw parts of speech: the overlapping areas are usually very small. Words in such languages belong to parts of speech and can be classified as such in accordance with morphological, semantic and fuctional criteria. All these criteria are applicable, morphological being and leading one. Each part of speech has its own afiixational word-changing and word –building paradigms. A cgange in a word’s affix is associated with a change of the general grammatical meaning of the word.
Strengthening of form words
There can be observed a gradual but stable growth of the significance of form words under the new conditions of constantly increasing analiticism. Plotkin has noticed that this process implies strengthening individuality of thr already existing classes on the one hand. On the other hand emergence of new groups of form words originating from the open classes. Some English form words had to strengthen their individuality to cope with the constantly growing functional load. The process was ongoing in M/ and EN Eng. Concerning the aspect of the problem – the emergence of new foerm words – we must note that some verbs came to be used in formative functions. Be, have, do, get and some others are most common form words in ME. Such units have been growing in number. Each of these verbs brings in its own connotation when an analytical construction is coined: he was (got) tired. Fall (be) ill. Diachronically these verbs have been pursuing pursue a strategy in their sense development, which is especially typical of isolating languages. The tendency extension of meaning, the widening of a word’s signification until it covers much more than the idea originally conveyed.
Extensive crowth of analytical constructions:
Grammatical analyticism suggests involvement of analytical constructions into word-changing paradigms. Suffice it to mention, that 30 finite forms in ME are analytical. They express continousity, perfectivity, futurity. Lexical analyticism implies the emergence of analytical constructions in word-building paradigms. Analytical constructions consist of two or more elements regarded as words (primary lexems) do you know? Have you translated the manuscript?. The syntactic relations between the elements are based on strong juxtaposition (placing lexems side by side) I have done it. I done have it. The fuctional load is distributed between the elements. Sometimes one of the elements is lexically more important, the other one is leading gramaticcaly. In some constructions both the elements are equally loaded(take out). The elements of the construction merge to form a single semantic and functional unit. If the construction is coined to convey a new grammatical meaning, it becomes a pattern for analytical word-changing technique (is smiling, has done. If it is coined to convey a new lexical meaning, it becomes a pattern for lexical derivation (be ill, fall ill, get going)
Predominance of syntactic methods of linking words in a sentence
Formal concord and government as purely synthetic methods of linking words were common in OE to engliscum gereorde the noun gereorde is in the dative case, neuter, singular. The dependent word engliscum has the inflection –um to express the same grammatical meanings – dative, singular, neuter. This is formal concord: scipu utbrengan . the verb utbrengan a noun in the accusative case. This is formal government. The decay of inflections has seriously diminished the extent of formal concord and government in English. Whereas Old English subjects agreed with the predicates in number and person, in ME the form of the predicate ofthen depends on the semantic content of the subject. This is notional concord. Under the new conditions the role of juxtaposition became especially great. Both the side and force of juxtaposition are very important in ME as indicators of close connection between words.
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