In this paper I discuss the modal auxiliary may in Shakespeare. My aim is to present the descriptive data of may in Shakespeare's Day and the change of uses from the viewpoint of “subjectification.” The examples of may presented here are collected from four major works of Shakespeare. I classify them into six categories (i. e. epistemic possibility, root possibility, permission, ability, desirability, and quasi-subjunctive), and give the frequency of each use. Traugott (1986,1989) has claimed that meanings tend to become increasingly more situated in the speaker's subjective belief, state, or attitude toward the proposition, which tendency she calls “subjectification. ”In this paper I argue that in modern English the number of epistemic uses of may has remarkably increased as compared to Shakespeare's Day. I conclude that this change in the development of epistemic meanings is the process of “subjectification”.
The aim of this paper is to discuss the following questions from the viewpoint of Functional Syntax; (i) What motivates Focus Movement (FM) in Shakespeare's English? (ii) Why is the landing site of FM restricted to the “edge” of a sentence? (iii) Why does Shakespeare's English allow much freer FM than Present-day English? In general, it has been claimed that Rightward FM such as Heavy NP Shift and Extraposition should be triggered by the End-Weight Principle. That is, a heavy or complicated element in a sentenceinitial or middle position is preferably placed at the end position. This explanation based on the information flow, however, encounters serious problems. First, the strict definition of “heaviness” seems unclear. Second, the reason is also obscure why a heavier element should follow a lighter one. Third, the other type of FM, that is, Leftward FM such as Wh-Movement cannot be explained by the above functional principle at all. I will claim that these problems may be solved naturally by a cognitive notion of “balance. ” In short, FM should be motivated in order to keep the most-well balanced structure. The landing site of a moved element should be “edge”because it is the best position to decide the direction of a sentence declination. Finally, it is suggested that the balance-based functional principle should be observed more strictly than some syntactic constraints in Shakespeare's English.
This article presents an analysis of the historical development of the way-construction based on cognitive grammar. It emerges from a diachronic corpus-based investigation that the kinds of prepositions used in the way-construction tend to be fixed, whereas the kinds of verbs, originally restricted to verbs of creation, expanded to verbs that do not denote the creation of a path. To explain these facts, an analysis by means of a “Constructional Schema, ” which expresses a path along which the subject referent moves from an obstacle-zone to an obstacle-free-zone, is proposed. It is argued that the directionality of movement expressed by the Constructional Schema comes from the “Prototype” of the way-construction, which expresses locomotion by creating a new way. Furthermore, it is shown that the emergence of wend in the way-construction after 1800, and the marginal acceptability of some types of way-constructions in present-day English can be analyzed as the establishment and the extension of the Constructional Schema, respectively.
I advance a new analysis to provide a principled account for the distribution of non-root wh-questions in Middle English (ME), Belfast English (BE), (and Present-day English (PE)). Specifically, I attempt to produce a more uniform generalization that wh-questions, whether root or non-root, universally select an interrogative affix Q in C, i. e. a head-feature of Q. This enables us to achieve consistency between root and non-root wh-questions with regard to the selection of the head-feature of Q. To preserve this generalization, I propose that, in ME, the head-feature of Q is valued and deleted in two ways: either by an overt complementizer corresponding to that or by a zero complementizer ZC, which is phonologically null. I also argue that similar remarks hold for BE (and PE) as well.