Supporting your high street Find out how »
Basket Image


Spreading Patterns : Diffusional Change in the English System of Complementation, Hardback Book


Spreading Change: Diffusional Change in the English System of Complementation examines the emergence and spread of three types of complements from the Middle English period to the present day.

The three types of complements are subject-controlled gerund complements (1), for...to-infinitives (2), and subject-controlled participial compelements (3). (1) The cat loves being stroked, absolutely loves it!(2) We couldn't afford for it to go wrong. (3) The receptionist is busy filling a fifth box. In the first half of the book De Smet addresses the theoretical issues by summarizing a number of major approaches to the study of complementation, and by focusing on how and why a particular change spreads (a process that he calls "diffusion").

In the second half, which is descriptive and largely corpus-based, De Smet tests these mechanisms on the three complement types.

His work demonstrates: a) how diffusion interacts with the grammatical system of complementation; b) how diffusion proceeds,step-by-step; and c) why diffusion is directional.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304 pages, 7 b&w line
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical & comparative linguistics
  • ISBN: 9780199812752



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops

Also in the Oxford Studies in the History of English series   |  View all