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How extension works: Determinants of the extension of grammatical and lexical items in English and Dutch.

Extension is the process whereby a linguistic item spreads to new lexical or grammatical environments. This research plan lays out a model of extension, explaining why an item can extend to a given environment at a given time. It formulates three interrelated hypotheses on the starting point, course and end point of extension. The hypotheses are tested on four corpus−based case studies covering different domains of grammar. The focus is on English, but where possible comparison is made between varieties of English, and between English and Dutch. The first case study addresses extension across syntactic environments in grammatical markers, viz. English and Dutch downtoners (e.g. hardly, all but, a bit). The second case study addresses extension across lexical environments, focusing on the extension of English verb particles and their Dutch counterparts to new lexical verbs (e.g. mess up, fill out, chatter away). The third and fourth case study address extension in lexical items, focusing on the development of new adjectives from nouns in noun+noun combinations (e.g. key, giant, average) and on the regularization of the verb dare from a (semi-)modal to a lexical verb.

Date:1 Oct 2014 →  Today
Keywords:Extension, Syntax, English, Dutch
Disciplines:Historical linguistics, Corpus linguistics, English language, Dutch language