The present paper tries to clarify the usage of adverbial but meaning ‘only’ in some Elizabethan writings. First, with regard to the position in the sentence, it will be shown that but is of rare occurrence before noun phrases as subjects, especially when it introduces a sentence or a clause, and that it is of common occurrence before various constituents of predicate. Second, in terms of meaning, phrases or clauses collocated with but usually imply such negative ideas as smallness, shortness, low evaluation and the like, while sometimes the collocated unit with but is used without any negative implication of either smallness, shortness or low evaluation. Third, sometimes collocations of but are so used as to contrast with certain other expressions. For instance, in “though I be but a poore woman, I am a true woman, ” “but a poore woman” contrasts with “a true woman.”
Due attention has not hitherto been paid to the competition between have- and be-perfects over a mutative verb in the post-Elizabethan writings, especially in texts which seem to reflect common and informal everyday speech. This paper is to supplement the limited number of studies that have analysed an abundant corpus and which have arrived at any statistics worthy of note, through an investigation of the rivalry between these two perfect forms in Samuel Pepys's “Diary”. Based upon evidence drawn from Pepys's “Diary”, as well as from the thorough and enlightening studies of Fridén, Kimura and Söderlind, we conclude that there is little evidence of a striking change in the perfect form of the mutative verb for nearly four centuries from Chaucerian age to the end of the 17th century. A key to answering the question of around what period the competition was settled, with have-perfect taking entire predominance over be-perfect, seems to lie in narrowing our search to the latter part of the 18th century or shortly thereafter.
It is often pointed out that the development of the gerundival construction can be analyzed as the acquisition of verbal property. In this paper, we will examine exactly what this property is or what it means that the gerundival construction has changed from nominal to verbal. Especially we are concerned with the question which part of the grammar has changed to allow the -ing to have this verbal property. “syntactic affixation” is referred to as the crucial notion for the explanation of the difference between -ing (or -ung) affix in Old English and -ing affix in Present-day English. We will analyze the change of the property of -ing as the consequence of a phonological, morphological, and syntactic blending of lexical affix -ing (-ung) and syntactic affix -ende through the period of Middle English. It will also be shown that the property of syntactic -ing as Verbal Case assigner is of great relevance to the development. The gerundival construction which has remained in Present-day English then will be described as the result of the change.
In this paper I examine three properties of the existential there sentences found in the Authorized Version of the Bible (1611) or the other versions of the Bible which were published in the 1500s. The first property is the there insertion. This operation is usually divided into two components: the postposing of the subject and the insertion of the pleonastic there. But in Biblical English we find that the latter operation does not take place where it is required in Present-Day English: amonge them that are borne of women, arose not a greater then John the Baptist. (Matt.11.11 (Great)) This type of existential sentence is an older form, which was gradually replaced by the 'new' form in which there is manifested, according to Breivik (1983). The second point is the position of the deep structure subject of the existential sentences. In addition to the positions which correspond to those of Present-Day English, in Biblical English the deep structure subject occupies various positions (rather freely)in the verb phrase. We should say that Biblical English is comparable to the English of Sir Thomas Malory rather than to that of Shakespeare in this respect. The third point is the relative order of the 'modal auxiliary verb' and the deep structure subject of the existential sentence. In Biblical English we not only find the pattern which is frequently met with now: there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets. (Matt.24.24 (AV)) but also we find another pattern: there shall no sign be given it. (Luke 11.29(AV)). This shows that at least two positions are available when the modal auxiliary verbs are involved although there are some factors operative here. Furthermore the fact that the former pattern is possible seems to suggest that the 'modal auxiliary verbs' have not been established as such in Biblical English.