Events / ILST Seminar: Tara Struik

ILST Seminar: Tara Struik

October 6, 2023
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

3401 Walnut Street, Room 401B, 3401 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

Tara Struik
University of Mannheim


The results of contact: Tracing changes in resultativity encoding in the history of English in contact with French


This talk will focus on the question to what extent the large influx of Old and Middle French verbs effected structural changes in the realisation of resultative predicates in Middle and Early Modern English. This particular contact situation is of interest because early French and English use distinctly different lexicalisation patterns to encode motion and change-of-state events. In terms of Talmy’s (2000) typology, early English is a typical satellite-framing language, which expresses the result state outside the core meaning of the verb by means of secondary predication, while French is a verb-framing language, which encodes the result state in the verb’s core meaning. The copying of result verbs from French thus straddles lexicon, semantics and syntax and is therefore a good test case to explore the question what long-lasting effects lexical copying has on a linguistic system beyond mere lexical insertion. A comprehensive corpus study of the Penn Corpora of Historical English reveals that the copies from Old French introduce a novel canonical way of expressing result: state-incorporating verbs are introduced in Middle English and witness a consistent increase over the course of the Middle and Early Modern English period. Complementary distribution effects suggest that these verbs are copied with their featural properties encoded in the mental lexicon.