Week 11 (March 25): Syntactic change and usage issues

Pick one topic under only one of the following two sections (i.e., either syntactic change or usage issue). You may find it more fun to browse through Denison or Webster's and find a topic that really appeals to you.
Syntactic change. Read the appropriate section of David Denison's chapter on "Syntax" in The Cambridge History of the English Language, Volume IV 1776-1997 and of Matti Rissanen's chapter on "Syntax" in Volume III 1476-1776. (If you're feeling obsessive, you can chase down other sources; Denison's and Rissanen's sources and section-bibliographies are helpful, as is Denison's monograph on English historical syntax. For the masochistic: Jespersen, and especially Visser.) For those in need of simplicity and clarity: try Barber or Gorlach's books on Early Modern English (and of course Millward and Crystal).
Clearly explain the topic to the class: how the change happened? why the change happened? the consequences of syntactic variation before, during, after the change? (for instance, you can still say I think not).
Topics (numbers in brackets mostly correspond to Denison's chapter headings ("D"), but you should look at Rissanen "R" too -- I haven't put in all of the references):
Usage issues. After reading Crystal chapter 13 ("Grammatical mythology"), think of a topic that you'd like to research and read the appropriate section of the Webster's dictionary of English Usage (PE 1460 M45 at INNIS, PE 1460 W425 at Robarts GENR, SMCR, TRIF, VUPR -- be thoughtful and reshelve it). If you're feeling obsessive, you can chase down other sources: modern usage dictionaries? Fowler's The King's English or Modern English Usage. Denison's chapter in CHEL 4 may well help you assess the "descriptive" situation for your "prescriptive" topic.
Clearly explain the topic to the class: Webster's is so good that you may find it difficult to prove to me that you've made this topic your own. Why not pick a topic that you've had personal experience with?!
You choose a topic and let me know: I'll put them up as they're staked out. You may NOT pick the split infinitive, as it's done quite nicely on Crystal page 195 already!