The purpose of this paper is to investigate Austen's use of the inanimate subjects of the progressive construction quantitatively and qualitatively. Her time of writing, before or around 1800, overlapped with the period when the progressive saw sudden growth. Strang (1982: 439) points out that “something happened to the status of the construction around 1800 that made it not only more frequent but also more difficult for novelists to handle.” I attempt to specify what made the progressive more difficult for novelists to employ by examining the inanimate subjects used in the construction chronologically in Austen's six works. I will deal with the progressive in terms of 1) occurrences and frequency and 2) subject-types (animate or inanimate). The investigation finds the increase in the numbers of its occurrences and frequency in the works written later. As for subject-types, the use of inanimate subjects with the progressive increases in the later works. I will show that the attribute or quality of the inanimate subjects changes with their expansion. Austen's data reveal that change of the attribute of the inanimate subjects leads to the ambiguity whether 'Ving' is a participle or gerund.
This paper proposes that the C-T configuration is necessary in order for lexical subjects in participial constructions to be licensed by nominative Case, arguing that a historical change of nominative absolutes is accounted for in terms of whether they involve the C-T configuration. A historical survey shows that nominative absolutes, which were firmly established during the 15th century, had been frequent until the middle of the 17th century, but they have been declining toward PE since then. The decline of nominative absolutes is shown to have been caused by the loss of the C-T configuration by analoav with verbal gerunds, which acquired clausal properties during EModE. Consequently, nominative absolutes are regarded as a fossilized literary expression in PE.
Samuel Richardson's linguistic innovation lies mainly in his dexterous use of words; he spared no pains to adopt a wide variety of unusual words or even to coin new words to meet his purposes in his fictional world. It is hard to say, however, whether this noteworthy technique has received due attention in the realm of linguistic studies at least for the past few decades after Ball's extensive survey (1976). Based on computer-assisted research, the present paper aims to explore Richardson's creative skills in his three major novels from the perspective of ‘word-formation. ’ Multitudes of compounds, along with their derivatives, are investigated, with our main focus on those which produce an intensifying effect on the one hand and a downtoning effect on the other. Several contemporary novels are compared statistically to demonstrate his salient lexical features. Through our comparative discussion, with some contextual analyses wherever appropriate, we hope to elicit Richardson's stylistic devices as a word-maker, which, we presume, were in time to be passed down to the novelists of the coming generation, particularly of ‘ sentimentalism, ’a literary trend in the late 18th century established as a reaction against Classicism.