written to spoken usage in English syntax
Frans.Plank at UNI-KONSTANZ.DE
Thu Jun 26 11:10:06 UTC 2008
not about English but German, and I don't vouch for it either:
It has sometimes been assumed (and I would have to search for
references) that strict verb-final in comp-introduced subordinate
clauses in Mod German is due to normative Renaissance grammarians
trying to impose on "educated" German what they believed were the
proper Latin standards -- naturally first in writing, but they were
quite succesful for speech too.
The traditional story of course is that V-final is the original
Germanic state of affairs; but apparently strict V-final doesn't
really have an unbroken continuity.
>Does modern English have any examples of sentence patterns which
>originated in WRITTEN usage before spreading to the spoken domain?
>So far I have only been able to find instances - or at least, claims
>- outside of syntax, e.g. phonological examples (reading
>pronunciations and/or misfits such as [@uphEk] for OPEC; [)f at n] vs.
>[)ft at n] for _often_; [ji:] in Ye Olde Inn, etc.); or lexical
>examples, e.g. words like _e-business_ and _e-learning_.
>Please note that the status of the above examples & claims is NOT my
>concern here. I only mention them to inquire if there are any known
>syntactic parallels, i.e. sentence patterns which used to be bookish
>before they entered into mainstream spoken English.
>The phenomenon has been observed e.g. in Mandarin, where modern
>passive patterns (especially those in which the patient is not
>literally 'suffering') initially spread as written translations from
>English, French, German and Russian, and only later to spoken usage.
>- Does spoken English perhaps have similar developments from
>translatese, e.g. from medieval French literature, or from Latin
>I checked various sources on the history of English to find
>examples, but lacking a background in English studies, I may have
>been looking in all the wrong places. Any suggestions about
>literature on the subject will be greatly appreciated!
>- - -
>Sinological Institute, Leiden University
>P.O. Box 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, Holland
>@ jeroen at wiedenhof.nl
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