This is a corpus-based variationist linguistics (CVL) study into a syntactic variation and change that is nearing completion: the shift from it is I (nominative) to it is me (accusative) in American English. Despite a number of recent statements in grammar books and dictionaries that the new variant, i.e., the accusative construction, has earned public acceptance, few attempts have been made to provide empirical support for the entire diachronic shift from nominative case to accusative case. Real-time quantitative data from the diachronic corpus COHA characterizes almost the entire process of the syntactic change, and the analysis of the data using the multivariate model demonstrates: (i) that the shift first occurred in the first-person singular I/me, and then in the other personal pronouns; (ii) that the shift fron I to me had been almost completed by the latter half of the 20th century; (iii) that the shift achieved a level of near-completion much earlier in contracted constructions such as it’s I/me than in non-contracted constructions such as it is I/me. The present study makes a cross-disciplinary contribution to the study of language variation and change by combining advantages of variationist sociolinguistics with those of corpus linguistics. It succeeds in complementing findings from previous studies by providing an empirical, comprehensive and detailed account of the process of this well-known syntactic change.
The auxiliary verb “令 shimu” was used in a causative sense in Classical Chinese writings. However, in Japanized Chinese writings in the Kamakura period of medieval Japan, it was widely used in a non-causative sense, which is presumed to have derived from a causative one. Regarding its function no agreement has been reached: some studies have suggested that the presence or absence of this auxiliary verb did not affect the meaning of a sentence; other ones have considered it to mean “humble”, “reflexive”, “marking volitional”, etc. Focusing more on its structural function than its semantic one, we made the following conclusions. The function of non-causative shimu is to mark the following word as a verb or make the word into a verb. It was used as a substitute for the light verb suru in Japanized Chinese writing in which neither Japanese native particles nor suffixes could be used. The origin of non-causative shimu could be the Classical Chinese causative construction “S shimu V,” where in some contexts shimu-V with causative meaning was semantically close to a transitive verb and shimu was reanalyzed as a marker of verbs. In the position of V stands a wide range of actions, such as both volitional and non-volitional actions, and inanimate-subjects events; it can even be an adjective. Prior research has noted that the function of shimu was similar to that of “致 itasu,” but the fact that words following itasu were not verbs but nouns and semantically limited to volitional actions indicates that they function differently.
Tibetic languages constitute a language complex with a complicated evidential-epistemic marking system. Many studies have described evidentiality in various Tibetic languages; however, significant variations in terminology and framework make a contrastive approach to the evidential system of these languages difficult. In this article, we describe the ‘access-type’ evidential marking system of copulative and existential verbs in five Tibetic languages and make a morphological analysis by using a common questionnaire based on the evidential system of Lhasa Tibetan, the most-described variety of the Tibetic languages. Next, we discuss the dissimilarities between languages. In conclusion, we show that the copulative and existential verbs in the Tibetic languages of the Khams and Amdo regions discussed in this article share the essential system of evidential marking under the unified framework of the evidential category, although they demonstrate significant differences.