Monthly Lunch Meeting

On 30 November Gijsbert Rutten will present his paper "Historical Linguistics ‘from below’- New Perspectives on the History of Dutch" from 12:00-13:00 in 1168 005. All welcome!

Richard M. Hogg Prize

The International Society for the Linguistics of English (ISLE) offers the Richard M. Hogg Prize to Ph.D. students and recent graduates for a paper on a topic in English language or English linguistics. The closing date for submissions is 31 March 2008. For details see the following website:

Textual Authority & 18th Century Copyright Law

The lack of definition for the right of the author as the proprietor of his/her own works after being sold to a publisher means that the textual authority of later editions/printings cannot always be taken for granted.
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Nähesprache & Distanzsprache

Incorporating German theory in Anglo-American historical linguistic research: the Nähesprache / Distanzsprache-model.

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Grammars, grammarians and grammar-writing

Good news: this book, which contains a collection of articles many of which are based on the first workshop organised by the Codifiers project, has just been announced on the Walter de Gruyter website. If all goes according to plan, it should be out by May 2008. When published, will be the first book produced by the members of the project.

So nice of a?

One of my MA students, Thomas de France, mentioned a new sentence type today, one that I had never come across before, which he would like to hear people’s opinions on:

  1. you have so nice of a car
  2. this is too big of a house for me.

How common is this construction? What kind of people use it? Would you use it yourself? If not, why not? Any other comments?

Monthly Lunch Meeting

On 28 September Fátima Faya-Cerquiero will present her paper "Who requests whom and how they do it: use of request markers in late modern English letters" from 12:00-13:00 in 1168 005. All welcome!


As the flow of emails that are still coming in daily tells us, the third Late Modern English conference, which was held here at Leiden a little while ago, turned out a very successful occasion. The plenaries, in my opinion, were brilliant, giving us a lot to think about, and the papers were all of an outstanding quality, including those presented as part of the two pre-conference workshops. A great conference indeed!

Sheffield was offered as the host for the next conference, in 2010. Sylvia Adamson has just been in touch with me, also on behalf of Joan Beal and Susan Fitzmaurice, to ask about what would be a good time of the year to have the conference, as August/September would unfortunately clash with ICEHL. Their suggestion, as a first option, would be moving 4LModE to the Spring of 2010, and they invite people’s opinions on this. What, if any are the drawbacks to this suggestion? They’d be happy to consider any other option that there is widespread support for (to end appropriately on a particle) (Sylvia speaking here).

Please either respond by commenting on this weblog entry below, or write to Sylva directly, at

3LModE Young Scholars Award

During the Third Late Modern English Conference, which was held in Leiden last week, Robin Straaijer (University of Leiden) was presented with the 3LModE – Young Scholars Award for his paper called "Towards a quantification of prescriptivism". While Robin received the trophy, he had to share the accompanying financial award with Svenja Kranich from the Free University of Berlin for her paper called "Interpretative progressives in Late Modern English".

Congratulations to both!

The history of tag questions

Could anyone help me find information on the history of the tag question? It is neither mentioned as a feature of Late Modern English grammar in Goerlach (2001) for the 18th century nor in Goerlach (1999) for the nineteenth, and yet they did occur. An example may be found in Kielkiewicz-Janowiak’s study of the language of early New England women (Poznan 2002), i.e. "Heavy business, is it not?" (Theodosia Burr, 4 June 1803; p. 190). Where do they come from? I’d also welcome additional examples.