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Fare Ye Well: On Competition between Ye and You in Early Modern English

Vanja Vuković orcid id ; Universität Wien

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 612 Kb

str. 132-143

preuzimanja: 214



This paper looks at the competition between nominative and oblique forms of the second person formal pronoun in Early Modern English. It explores the major factors which were possibly responsible for the generalization of the oblique form, and the disappearance of the subject form. The influence of both linguistic and extralinguistic factors which resulted in the altered pronoun system will be discussed as it is believed that social circumstances, especially the level of formality, might have played a significant role in ousting the nominative case form.
In order to obtain the necessary language data, a corpus-based approach will be adopted. English historical corpora will be consulted so as to identify the particular period in which the major decrease in usage of the nominative form can be observed. Additionally, the parsed corpora will provide further evidence relating to the usage of the oblique form instead of the subject form.
The paper first briefly outlines the theoretical background of the morphological and syntactic properties of ye and you in Middle English and Early Modern English. Second, it provides a review of the relevant literature about the topic at hand. Third, it examines the examples from the corpora and literary texts. Fourth, it proceeds to discuss the possible sociolinguistic motivation behind the generalization of the oblique form you. The paper concludes with a brief summary of the main points and an outlook for future research.

Ključne riječi

Early Modern English; ye; you; change from below

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