Phrasal verbs and analogical generalization in Late Modern Spoken English

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Abstract

This present study focuses on the description of the development of phrasal verbs (PVs) in Late Modern Spoken English and, specifically, aims at analysing texts taken from the Proceedings of the Old Bailey, a valuable source of spoken language from past time periods. From a diachronic perspective, the emergence of new PVs can be considered strictly linked to the process of direct formation and analogical generalization resulting in PVs as they are known in Present Day English (PDE). This study is a corpus-based investigation conducted on the Late Modern English-Old Bailey Corpus (LModE-OBC), a corpus that has been compiled by using texts from the Proceedings of the Old Bailey and annotated with the Visual Interactive Syntax Learning interface (VISL). The analysis reveals that, in the time span 1750-1850, this verbal group underwent a gradual process of change also due to the contribution of direct formation and analogical generalization, a process that started in the Early Modern English (EME) period and that continued to the Late Modern English (LModE) era.

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