Week 5. Grammatical variation (February 4)

Write a really! five-minute report that illuminates the linguistic and/or social causes and/or effects of the following examples of grammatical variation. For instance, you might consider:
Background.On January 28th, I’ll have given you an overview lecture about early modern grammar – issues to do with the second person pronouns (thou and you), strong verbs (get, got, gotten), regular/weak verbs (love, loved). Read the relevant section of Millward (“Early modern English morphology”). Other good sources of information include Barber’s book on Early modern English (on short term 2-hour loan, PE 1081 B3), and the relevant volumes of the Cambridge History of the English Language (short term loan, PE 1072 C36), as well as the OED (use your words rather than the editors’) and perhaps good usage dictionaries – I love the Webster’s dictionary of English usage (GENR PR 1460 W425). If you’re obsessive, have a look at the historical grammars by Jespersen (PE 1101 J5) and Visser (PE 1361 V5): 4 stars if you can find your way around them. Or, better still, there are some very good articles written by the Finns working on the CCEC (Corpus of Early English Correspondence): Terttu Nevalainen has correlated social and linguistic factors in the spread of forms like you: see the e-index "Linguistics & Language behavior"...

  1. -nouns: the rise and fall of the apostrophe
  2. -nouns: plural of rhinoceros and other classical loanwords (Zach)
  3. -second person singular pronoun: use of thou, thee in C16th and C17th (Susana)
  4. -second person plural pronoun: replacement of ye with you (Dale)
  5. -second person plural pronoun: form you was (Cheratra)
  6. -second person plural pronoun: you, you all, youse, etc. (Andrea)
  7. -neuter pronoun: replacement of his with its (Rebecca)
  8. -third person singular: competition between –s and –th
  9. -second and third person singular: the subjunctive (and its successors) (Jennifer)
  10. -contractions like ain’t, he don’t (Brad)
  11. -forms of verb drink, drank/drunk, drunk(en)
  12. -forms of verbs write, wrote, written/wrote (Dane)
  13. -forms of verb get, got, got(ten) (Tim)
  14. -forms of verbs dig and stick