Information-structural transformations of additive adverb EVEN (a case study of the English language written records and corpora of the XII-XVII с.)




focusing adverb, additive scalar adverb, text corpora, given/new information, sentence Focus/Topic


The paper presents the study of the adverb even in Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse and Early English Books Online, which texts and digital solutions help investigate the impact of sentence information structure on adverbial development. Corpus and semantic analysis of the XII-XVII c. written records have been the basis for singling out even as a focusing adverb outlining its distinctive features as an additive. The author proposes a new methodology to annotate information structure of the sentences with the adverb retrieved from the corpora taking into account the word-order change over the span of the 1150s-1690s of the English language development and introduces its corpus annotation. There has also been tested the elaborated scheme of tagging given / new information in multi-layer corpora based on Discourse Representation Theory (1st layer) as well as sentence Topic / Focus (2nd layer). It has been assumed that as a result of changes of the underlying word order in Middle English, the language requires the emergence of such new sentence information structure markers as a ‘therapy’, viz. additive even. It has been discovered that it functions as the degree and manner adverb in Old English, while in Middle English it operates as a restrictive (either exclusive or particularizer) or scalar additive adverb. The study specifies that when carrying out the latter function, it marks the sentence component which exemplifies mirative Focus emphasizing the surprising information in the discourse; this triggers the inverted word order in the clause with X-element left dislocation. Corpus data analysis in the English language through the 2nd half of the XV–XVII c. shows that due to the fixed SVO order in this period there is a considerable increase in the frequency of using even as a focusing adverb that mostly highlights mirative Focus.


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