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Chapter 5: Syntax

Elena Seoane


Early Modern English is an important period of transition between a still largely synthetic language heavy with variants and a fairly analytic, standardized one. The study of EModE syntax benefits greatly from the abundant and heterogeneous linguistic data available in this period, which allows for the inclusion of sociolinguistic and stylistic factors in the analysis of the changes. In this chapter I concentrate on the description of those which are considered quintessential to the period. These are changes in relation to the long-term transformation of English from a synthetic to an analytic language, such as major developments in the verbal system, as well as changes indicative of the emergence of the written standard, with a reduction of variation and the establishment of rules of usage in areas such as negation and word order. Finally, I also focus on those changes which first emerged in this period and which are still developing today, such as the restructuring of the complement system.

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