Reciprocity in English

Historical Development and Synchronic Structure

By Florian Haas

© 2010 – Routledge

170 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781138868502
pub: 2015-02-27
Hardback: 9780415804356
pub: 2009-12-10

About the Book

Although the grammatical expression of reciprocal (or ‘mutual’) situations in the languages of the world has received a surprising amount of attention in recent years, so far no comprehensive study specifically dealing with the historical development and synchronic structure of English reciprocal constructions has been published. This book takes into consideration insights from the three major research projects on reciprocity in the languages of the world as well as the rich literature on more specific aspects of reciprocity. Assuming a usage-based model of grammar, the development of the reciprocal strategies used in present-day English is described, with special attention paid to the periods following Middle English, where today’s system began to take shape. The means of expressing reciprocity in today’s English (e.g. the expressions each other and one another) are then analyzed as a system of competing constructions, the make-up and distribution of which can be related both to their history and subtle distinctions in meaning and use associated with the different constructions. Quantitative data from corpora of natural language provides evidence for the analyses put forward. Wherever possible, claims on the expression of reciprocity in present-day English are checked against what is known about the grammar of reciprocity in other languages.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 1. Introduction 2. Reciprocity in English: An Overview of the Facts and Previous Research 3. Historical Development 4. Intransitive Verbs Expressing Reciprocity 5. Reciprocity in English: A Comprehensive Perspective Primary Sources and Corpora Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Florian Haas is a lecturer in linguistics at the University of Jena, Germany.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Germanic Linguistics

The Germanic languages are among the best described in the world and exhibit a considerable degree of variation. Yet, with the exception of English, their properties and structural variance have yet to be fully exploited for linguistic theory. The purpose of this series is to promote more intense interaction of general linguistics with the field of Germanic linguistics as a whole.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Grammar & Punctuation
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General