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Noelia Castro-Chao, invited speaker at the 25th ELC Research Seminar (15 December 2020)


A new research seminar will be held online, via Microsoft Teams, on Tuesday, 15 December, 5:00 – 6:30 pm.

Speaker: Dr Noelia Castro-Chao (USC)

Title of talk: “Pathways to English complement clauses: from adverbial subordination to complementation in object territory”

Convenor: Nuria Yáñez-Bouza (UVigo)

Certificates of attendance will be issued. Registration is free. Those interested in connecting online, please send an email to Lidia Gómez García (lidiagogar@gmail.com), indicating the name and surname with which you wish to appear on the certificate.
A Teams link will be sent to you a few days before the seminar.

Abstract of talk:
Previous research has shown that certain originally adverbial subordinators, such as as if in (1), may acquire complementiser function over time, thereby coming to serve as (near‑)equivalents of the declarative complementiser that.

(1)  It seemed as if / that he was trying to hide his true identity.

López-Couso & Méndez-Naya (2012, 2015, among others) have extensively discussed the complementiser use of a number of adverbial links which have followed this course of development. The authors show that these so-called ‘minor’ complementisers typically originate in subordinating links introducing clauses of Comparison (as if, as though) and Negative Purpose (lest), among others. The change under discussion has been interpreted as a case of secondary grammaticalisation, illustrating a process of increased grammaticalisation of already grammatical items in specific contexts (see Givón 1991: 305).

This presentation addresses the same phenomenon in an adverbial domain not explored to date, namely, the domain of Time (Kortmann 1997: 84–85). More specifically, Castro-Chao will consider the history and use of two temporal subordinators, till and until, which are attested in complementiser function in Early and Late Modern English.

The study draws on data from a number of sources, including Early English Books Online (1470s–1690s; Davies 2017) and the Corpus of Late Modern English Texts, version 3.0 (1710–1920; De Smet et al. 2013).

Davies, Mark. 2017. Early English Books Online. Part of the SAMUELS project. https://www.english-corpora.org/eebo/.
De Smet, Hendrik, Hans-Jürgen Diller & Jukka Tyrkkö. 2013. The Corpus of Late Modern English Texts, version 3.0. Leuven: KU Leuven.
Givón, Talmy. 1991. The evolution of dependent clause morpho-syntax in Bibliblical Hebrew. In Elizabeth C. Traugott  & Bernd Heine, eds. Approaches to grammaticalization, Volume II, 257-310. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Kortmann, Bernd. 1997. Adverbial subordination: A typology and history of adverbial subordinators based on European languages. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
López-Couso, María José & Belén Méndez-Naya. 2012. On the use of as if, as though and like in Present-day English complementation structures. Journal of English Linguistics 40(2): 172–195.
López-Couso, María José & Belén Méndez-Naya. 2015. Secondary grammaticalization in clause combining: From adverbial subordination to complementation in English. Language Sciences 47: 188–198.


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