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Tense, aspect and modality, discourse markers in diachrony and variation in English

le 30 mai 2023

Autour de la thématique de l’(a)symétrie en diachronie/variation

Journée d’étude de l'équipe PRISMES-Sesylia EA4398

Guest speakers : Peter Petré (Univ. Antwerpen), Debra Ziegeler (Univ. SN)

Peter Petré [PDF - 89 Ko]   Debra Ziegler [PDF - 27 Ko]

Organizers and members of the diachrony group: Allessandro Basile (Univ. Paris Cité), Dominique Boulonnais, Eric Corre, Catherine Delesse (Univ. Lorraine), Claude Delmas, Christelle Exare, Marc Fryd (Univ. Poitiers), Jacqueline Guéron, Annie Lancri, Christophe Lenoble, Mathilde Pinson, Thérèse Robin (UPEC), Wilfrid Rotgé (Univ. Sorbonne Cité), Cécile Yousfi.

(A)symmetry has been the general topic for our team (Sesylia) for the past four years, and we propose to apply it to language change and variation in English in a special workshop to be held on May 30th, 2023. Our work in the diachrony workshops has revealed the asymmetrical nature of the different changes that the morphosyntax of English has undergone over extended historical time periods; most changes that have affected certain areas of grammar seem to have happened gradually rather than affecting the entire system all at once (e.g., negation; the phonemisation of /h/ ; the ‘push and pull’ evolution of modal verbs, etc.). Concerning variation, we have had the occasion to compare standard and non-standard markers in English (e.g., the extension of the progressive to state verbs in numerous international dialects (e.g. Platt, Weber & Ho 1984) and the unusually frequent use of will as a habitual marker in Singapore English (Ziegeler 2014).

For this workshop, we intend to invite two linguists: Peter Petré, from the University of Antwerpen, is an expert in diachronic change, and Debra Ziegeler, emeritus Professor from Sorbonne Nouvelle, is an expert in variation.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of the topics we have covered in the diachrony workshops, and which could be elaborated on for presentations at the workshop on 30 May:

- The development of the be + V-ing construction : was the original beon V-ende in O.E. an emphatic durative form or already an imperfective construction? And in Middle English, was the rise of the be + on V-ung originally just an absentive construction (De Groot 2000), or was it the sole source of the progressive construction in Modern to Present-day English (e.g. Bybee et al 1994)?

- Imperfectivity and modality in Singapore English : will developing as a habitual marker, and the progressive extending to stative verbs – do these factors contribute to the emergence of a new (imperfective) aspectual system ?

- Case loss was a gradual phenomenon, starting from Old English; what was the motivation, and how did it affect certain environments/constructions and not others at the same pace ?

- The loss of the optative/subjunctive construction from O.E. to M.E., which was gradually replaced by modals; what was the chronology of these changes, were some semantic domains more affected than others (e.g. Jones & Macleod 2020)?

- The rise of shall as a future tense : what triggered it ? Why shall ? Did will come later?

- The change in uses of discourse /evidential markers;

- The change in the lexical expression of motion: English seems to have gone from a strictly satellite-framed language to a mixed system, under the influence of French.

- The quasi-absence of perfect constructions in O.E. to their gradual reappearance, which may have been linked to the development of a narrative mode of discourse; in later periods, there was a competition (ambiguity) between temporal (anterior) and irrealis uses (in Modern English); why wasn’t there an aoristic drift of the present perfect in (standard) English?

… and others.



9h30 : Accueil, café

10h-11h :

Keynote speaker 1 :

Peter Petré, University of Antwerpen, Conservative pressure on the progressive: the passival.

11h-11h15: pause café

11h15-11h50: Christelle Exare, Dominique Boulonnais, Eric Corre, Mathilde Pinson, Our work in the diachrony workshop.
> Questions

12h00-12h35: D. Boulonnais, Soðlice and witodlice: symmetry and asymmetry in pragmatic reconstruction
> Questions

12h45-14h00: déjeuner


Keynote speaker 2:

Debra Ziegeler, On the fate of the iamitive in Singapore English: a grammaticalization account. 

15h00-15h35: E. Corre, Verbs of motion in Old-English - some observations on their use and evolution.
> questions

15h45-16h: pause café

16h-16h35: M. Pinson, Functional asymmetry at the Left Periphery and the Right

Periphery? The case of bottom line.
> questions

16h45-17h20: C. Lenoble, The rise of a possible imperfective system in Singapore English.
> questions

 17h30-18h15: discussion.

Type :
Colloque / Journée d'étude
Lieu(x) :
Maison de la Recherche, Salle C. Simon

mise à jour le 4 mai 2023