Natural Language Semantics

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 157–203 | Cite as

The diachronic semantics of English again

  • Sigrid BeckEmail author
  • Remus Gergel


This paper explores the diachronic development of the English adverb again. A compositional semantic analysis of its grammar at various stages is provided. It is argued that this analysis must consist of a staging of first a lexical and then a structural change, in order to adequately model the sequence of individual developmental steps observed in the historical corpus data, and that it provides an insight into pathways of semantic change in general.


Again Diachronic semantics 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Beck, Sigrid. 2005. There and back again: A semantic analysis. Journal of Semantics 22: 3–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beck, Sigrid. 2006. Focus on again. Linguistics and Philosophy 29: 277–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beck, Sigrid. 2012. Pluractional comparisons. Linguistics and Philosophy 35: 57–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beck, Sigrid, Polina Berezovskaya, and Katja Pflugfelder. 2009. The use of ‘again’ in 19th-century English versus Present-Day English. Syntax 12: 193–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bosworth, Joseph, and Thomas N. Toller (eds.). 1882. An Anglo-Saxon dictionary: Based on the manuscript collections of the late Joseph Bosworth. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bybee, Joan, Revere Perkins, and William Pagliuca. 1994. The evolution of grammar: Tense, aspect, and modality in the languages of the world. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Crain, Stephen, and Diane Lillo-Martin. 1998. An introduction to linguistic theory and language acquisition. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  8. Cresswell, M. 1978. Prepositions and points of view. Linguistics and Philosophy 2: 1–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Diewald, Gabriele. 2002. A model for relevant types of contexts in grammaticalization. In New reflections on grammaticalization, ed. I. Wischer and G. Diewald, 102–120. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  10. Dowty, David. 1979. Word meaning and Montague Grammar. Dordrecht: Reidel.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eckardt, Regine. 2006. Meaning change in grammaticalization: An enquiry into semantic reanalysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eckardt, Regine. 2011. Semantic reanalysis and language change. Language and Linguistics Compass 5: 33–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eckardt, Regine. 2012. Grammaticalization and semantic reanalysis. In Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning, vol. 3, ed. Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn, and Paul Portner, 2675–2702. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  14. Elenbaas, Marion. 2007. The synchronic and diachronic syntax of the English verb-particle combination. Doctoral dissertation, Radboud University Nijmegen (LOT Dissertations 149).Google Scholar
  15. Ellegård, Alvar. 1953. The auxiliary do: The establishment and regulation of its use in English. PhD dissertation, Göteborg University.Google Scholar
  16. Evans, Nicholas, and David Wilkins. 2000. In the mind’s ear: The semantic extensions of perception verbs in Australian Languages. Language 76: 546–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fabricius-Hansen, Cathrine. 1983. Wieder ein Wieder? Zur Semantik von Wieder. In Meaning, use and interpretation of language, ed. R. Baeuerle, C. Schwarze, and A. von Stechow, 97–120. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  18. Fabricius-Hansen, Cathrine. 2001. Wi(e)der and again(st). In Audiatur Vox Sapientiae: a festschrift for Arnim von Stechow, ed. Caroline Fery and Wolfgang Sternefeld, 101–130. Berlin: Akademie.Google Scholar
  19. Galves, Charlotte, Helena Britto, and M. Clara Paixão de Sousa. 2005. The change in clitic placement from classical to modern European Portuguese: Results from the Tycho Brahe Corpus. Journal of Portuguese Linguistics 4(1): 39–67.Google Scholar
  20. Gergel, Remus. 2009. Rather—On a modal cycle. In Cyclical change, ed. E. van Gelderen, 243–264. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  21. Gergel, Remus. 2010. From comparisons to preferences: Investigations in modeling variation, change, and continuity at the syntax–semantics interface. Habilitation: Universität Tübingen.Google Scholar
  22. Gergel, Remus. 2014. On the diachronic trajectory of the adverb again: A corpus study at the interface with meaning. Ms., Universität Tübingen.Google Scholar
  23. Gergel, Remus, and Sigrid Beck. (to appear). Early Modern English again—A corpus study and semantic analysis. English Language and Linguistics.Google Scholar
  24. Gevaert, Caroline. 2007. The history of ANGER: The lexical field of ANGER from Old to Early Modern English. PhD dissertation, Universiteit Leuven.Google Scholar
  25. Heim, Irene. 1990. Presupposition projection. In Presupposition, lexical meaning and discourse processes (Workshop Reader), ed. R. van der Sandt. Nijmegen: University of Nijmegen.Google Scholar
  26. Heim, Irene, and Angelika Kratzer. 1998. Semantics in generative grammar. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  27. Heine, Bernd. 2002. On the role of context in grammaticalization. In New reflections on grammaticalization, ed. Ilse Wischer and Gabriele Diewald, 83–101. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Herweg, Michael, and Dieter Wunderlich. 1991. Lokale und Direktionale. In Semantik: ein internationales Handbuch der zeitgenössischen Forschung, ed. Arnim von Stechow and Dieter Wunderlich, 758–785. Berlin: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  29. Heycock, Caroline, and Joel Wallenberg. 2013. How variational acquisition drives syntactic change. Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 16: 127–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Higginbotham, James. 1999. Accomplishments. Proceedings of GLOW in Asia II: 72–82.Google Scholar
  31. Hopper, Paul, and Elizabeth Traugott. 1993. Grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Jäger, Gerhard, and Reinhart Blutner. 2000. Against lexical decomposition in syntax. In Proceedings of the Israeli Association for Theoretical Linguistics 15, ed. Adam Wyner, 113–137.Google Scholar
  33. Kamp, Hans, and Antje Rossdeutscher. 1994. Remarks on lexical structure and DRS construction. Theoretical Linguistics 20: 97–164.Google Scholar
  34. Klein, Wolfgang. 2001. Time and again. In Audiatur Vox Sapientiae: a festschrift for Arnim von Stechow, ed. Caroline Fery and W. Sternefeld, 267–286. Berlin: Akademie.Google Scholar
  35. King, Ruth. 2011. Back to back: The trajectory of an old borrowing. Selected Papers from NWAV 39. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 17.2: 115–123.Google Scholar
  36. Kratzer, Angelika. 1998. More structural analogies between pronouns and tenses. Proceedings of SALT 8, 92–110. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.Google Scholar
  37. Krifka, Manfred. 1998. The origins of telicity. In Events and grammar, ed. Susan Rothstein, 197–235 Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  38. Kroch, Anthony. 1989. Reflexes of grammar in patterns of language change. Language Variation and Change 1: 199–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kroch, Anthony. 2001. Syntactic change. In The handbook of contemporary syntactic theory, ed. M. Baltin and C. Collins. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  40. Kroch, Anthony, Beatrice Santorini, and Lauren Delfs. 2004. Penn-Helsinki parsed corpus of Early Modern English. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  41. Kroch, Anthony, Beatrice Santorini, and Ariel Diertani. 2010. Penn parsed corpus of Modern British English. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  42. Kroch, Anthony, and Ann Taylor. 2000. Penn-Helsinki parsed corpus of Middle English, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  43. Lucas, Christopher, and David Willis. 2012. Never again: The regrammaticalization of never as a marker of negation in English. English Language and Linguistics 16: 459–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. McCawley, James. 1968. The role of semantics in a grammar. In Universals in linguistic theory, ed. E. Bach and R. Harms, 124–169. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  45. McCoard, Robert. 1978. The English perfect: Tense-choice and pragmatic inferences. Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  46. McFadden, Thomas, and Artemis Alexiadou. 2010. Perfects, resultatives, and auxiliaries in Earlier English. Linguistic Inquiry 41: 389–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Parsons, Terry. 1990. Events in the semantics of English. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  48. Partee, Barbara. 1973. Some structural analogies between tenses and pronouns in English. The Journal of Philosophy 70: 601–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pedersen, W. 2010. Two sources of ‘again’-ambiguities: Evidence from degree-achievement predicates. In Logic, language and meaning: 17th Amsterdam Colloquium, Revised Selected Papers, ed. M. Aloni et al., 355–363. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Pintzuk, Susan, and Ann Taylor. 2008. The loss of OV order in the history of English. In The handbook of the history of English, ed. A. van Kemenade and Bettelou Los. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  51. Pintzuk, Susan, and Anthony Kroch. 1989. The rightward movement of complement and adjuncts in the Old English of Beowulf. Language Variation and Change 1: 115–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ramchand, Gillian. 2008. Verb-meaning and the lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rapp, Irene, and Arnim von Stechow. 1999. Fast ‘almost’ and the Visibility Parameter for functional adverbs. Journal of Semantics 16: 149–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Schöller, Anthea. 2013. The different readings of ‘wieder’ and ‘again’: An experimental investigation. Graduate Thesis, University of Tübingen.Google Scholar
  55. Snyder, William. 2001. On the nature of syntactic variation: Evidence from complex predicates and complex word-formation. Language 77: 324–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Speyer, Augustin. 2010. Topicalization and stress clash avoidance in the history of English. Berlin: de Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stern, Gustaf. 1931. Meaning and change of meaning with special reference to the English language. Göteborg: Elander.Google Scholar
  58. Taylor, Ann, Arja Nurmi, Anthony Warner, Susan Pintzuk, and Terttu Nevalainen. 2006. Parsed corpus of Early English correspondence. Compiled by the CEEC Project Team. York and Helsinki: University of York and University of Helsinki. Oxford Text Archive.Google Scholar
  59. Traugott, Elizabeth, and Richard Dasher. 2002. Regularity in semantic change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Troberg, Michelle, and Heather Burnett. 2014. Le prédicat résultatif adjectival en français médiéval. Lingvisticae Investigationes 37(1): 152–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. von Stechow, Arnim. 1995. Lexical decomposition in syntax. In The lexicon in the organization of Language, ed. U. Egli et al., 81–118. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. von Stechow, Arnim. 1996. The different readings of wieder ‘again’: A structural account. Journal of Semantics 13: 87–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. von Stechow, Arnim. 1999. Eine erweiterte Extended Now-Theorie für Perfekt und Futur. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik 113: 86–118.Google Scholar
  64. von Stechow, Arnim. 2002. German seit ‘since’ and the ambiguity of the German Perfect. In More than words: A Festschrift for Dieter Wunderlich, ed. Ingrid Kaufmann and Barbara Stiebels, 393–432. Berlin: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  65. von Stechow, Arnim. 2006. Spatial prepositions in interval semantics. Ms., University of Tübingen.Google Scholar
  66. Warner, Anthony. 2005. Why DO dove: Evidence for register variation in Early Modern English negatives. Language Variation and Change 17(03): 257–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Weinreich, Uriel, William Labov, and Marvin I. Herzog. 1968. Empirical foundations for a theory of language change. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  68. Whitelock, Dorothy, David C. Douglas, and Susie I. Tucker (eds.). 1961. The Anglo-Saxon chronicle: A revised translation. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Universität GrazGrazAustria

Personalised recommendations