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GET-passive in 19c English

Presentation for ICAME 36 2015, Trier
by

Lieselotte Anderwald

on 13 January 2016

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Transcript of GET-passive in 19c English

Lieselotte Anderwald
University of Kiel, Germany

The GET-passive in 19c English:
Corpus analysis and prescriptive comments

1. Introduction: GET + ppl
4. Conclusions
(<Collins 1996)
Fleisher (2006), Hundt (2001)
2. How did GET + ppl acquire passive meaning?
2. The GET-passive
in 19c English

3. Comments in grammars
GET-passive incipient change in 19c
clear case of grammaticalization
rapid increase in frequency
increase in range of verbs
linked to rise in GET-constructions
"delay"

re-analysis from marginal constructions
participial adj > ppl
GET FV > GET passive marker
grammaticalization
linked to rise in GET-constructions
rise in GET-constructions overall
rise in frequency of GET + ppl
not linear increase
acceleration towards end of century
but slower than GET-constructions

3.3 Terms of criticism
3.2 Quantitative study
1. Central GET-passives
He got arrested by the police.
active paraphrase fully equivalent
the police arrested him
by
-agent explicit or recoverable
... by the police
semantic properties of agent

personal, intention, animate
[scale]
participle has no adjectival properties
*he got
very
arrested
use of dynamic verb

arrest
2. Psychological GET-passives
I got frustrated.
Criteria:
active paraphrase possible

my job frustrated me
by
-agent possible
typically
inanimate
I got frustrated
by my job
ppl = adjective
premodification
I got
very
frustrated
coordination with core adjective
I got frustrated
and sad
verb substitutable by copular verb
I
felt
frustrated

psychological verb
3. Reciprocal/reflexive GET-passives
We got dressed.
Criteria:
active paraphrase ~
We dressed.
no
by
-agent possible
*We got dressed
by us.
agent = patient:
~

We dressed ourselves.

~ We married each other.
participle does not have adjectival properties
*We got
very
dressed.
He got arrested by the police.
passive
She got frustrated by her work.
We got dressed.
They got drunk.
We got stuck/used to/accustomed to ...
not passive
by-agent possible
participle or adjective?
active paraphrase available?
They got acquainted (adj).
They got acquainted (adj=ppl).
They got acquainted (ppl).
They got (pass) acquainted (ppl).
They got invited.
They got arrested.
It got discovered.
ambiguity
re-analysis
wide range of verbs
Gow 1892 (1878)
White 1882
Whitney 1877
Anonymous 1853
Fleisher (2006)
GET constructions in COHA (3 samples)
[subjunctive active]
p. 247f.
"Abbreviated and incomplete expressions"
have got
improper
vulgar
low
ungrammatical
false grammar
superfluous
have got
false grammar
unnecessary
have got
solecism
false grammar
have got
vulgar
ungrammatical
have got
redundant
have got
redundant
unnecessary word
have got
unnecessary word
have got
unnecessary word
unnecessary word
tautology
Harvey 1900 (1869)
some descriptively adequate comments
GET-passive rarely mentioned
much criticism of GET constructions
American grammars more critical than British ones
most criticism 1830s
bleached meaning of GET
improper, vulgar, low

ungrammatical, false grammar, solecism

superfluous, redundant, unnecessary word
tautology
change from below
3.4 Summary grammars
grammaticalization
rise in (text) frequency
wider use of verbs
Summary development
Summary corpus study
Corpus study
Grammars study
GET-constructions criticised
especially HAVE GOT, HAVE GOT TO (bleached use)
1830s strongest criticism
myth of the immutable language
myth of original meaning
myth of the legitimate language
myth of the polite language
(after Watts 2011)
GET should not be used in new constructions
--> GET is changing
GET should be used in original meaning

--> GET is bleaching
new uses of GET are wrong
--> used by "wrong" people
new uses of GET are uneducated
--> change from below
3.1 Collection of 19c Grammars
contains 258 grammars
published in Britain and North America
published between 1800 and 1900
(plus additional data before 1800)
collected from Google Books 2007-2011
only full texts (pdf)
manual analysis, annotation (1.6 GB)
Number of grammar books per decade included in the CNG
SOCIAL
GRAMMAR
LOGIC
Ramsey 1892
get
loose use
[to be corrected]
get rid of
low and provincial
get into a scrape
vulgar
have got
improper
[to be corrected]
get wet
not authorized by grammar
GET-passive
get into a scrape
low and provincial
error
have got to
unnecessary word
impropriety
but: Bullions 1851 (1834) US
is copied verbatim from
Allen 1824 (1813) GB;
also repeated in
Kerl 1868 (1861) US
get there
[corrected to "arrived"]
have got to
common error
get
redundant
pleonastic
get up
incorrect
word badly chosen
corrected to: rise
have got
have got to
[get=obtain]
unnecessary word
unnecessary word
not elegant
better: have to, must
ain't
multiple negation
have got
intr:
get bottom upwards
rid:
get rid of
ppl:
get skinned
ing:
get feeling dull
to:
get to Portugal
adv/prep:
get out of sight
adj:
get angry
refl:
get yourselves ready
NP ppl:
get my shirts done
NP to:
get them to work
NP of:
get hold of
NP adv:
get me away
NP adj/prep:
get him wet
NP NP:
get her a doll
NP:
get his daily bread
vulgar
impropriety
before 1760
after 1760
get left
error
should not be used
get FV
(she has got her sails furled)
(have you got anyhow to him?)
vulgar
false syntax
repetition
to get into a scrape
low
vulgar
provincial
to get the hang of
false syntax
needless word
too many words
have got to
avoid
have got to
get rid of
have got
improper
get into a scrape
low
vulgar
[all uses of GET]
overuse
get out of difficulty
get into a scrape
vulgar
[get=acquire]
have got
References

Alexiadou, Artemis. 2005. "A note on non-canonical passives: The case of the
get
-passive." In Hans Broekhuis, Norbert Corver, Riny Huybregts, Ursula Kleinhenz and Jan Koster, eds.
Organizing Grammar: Studies in Honor of Henk van Riemsdijk.
Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter: 13-21.

Alexiadou, Artemis. 2012. "Noncanonical passives revisited: Parameters of nonactive Voice."
Linguistics
50: 1079-1110.

Anderwald, Lieselotte. forthcoming.
Language between Description and Prescription: Verb Categories in Nineteenth-Century Grammars of English.
Oxford: OUP.

Ballard, Philip Boswood. 1939.
Teaching and Testing English.
London: University of London Press.

Battistella, Edwin L. 2008.
Do You Make These Mistakes in English? The Story of Sherwin Cody's Famous Language School.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Collins, Peter. 1996. "
Get
-passives in English."
World Englishes
15: 43-56.

Crumpton, Claudia E. 1916. "Better Speech Week at Montevallo." The English Journal 5: 569-570.

Downing, Angela. 1996. "The semantics of
get
-passives." In Ruqaiya Hasan, Carmel Cloran and David Butt, eds.
Functional Descriptions: Theory in Practice.
Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins: 179-205.

Fleisher, Nicholas. 2006. "The origin of passive
get
."
English Language and Linguistics
10: 225-252.

Givón, Talmy, and Lynne Yang. 1994. "The rise of the English
get
-passive." In Barbara Fox and Paul J. Hopper, eds.
Voice: Form and Function.
Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins: 119-149.

Görlach, Manfred. 1998.
An Annotated Bibliography of 19th-Century Grammars of English.
Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Gries, Stefan Th., and Martin Hilpert. 2012. "Variability-based Neighbor Clustering: A bottom-up approach to periodization in historical linguistics." In Terttu Nevalainen and Elizabeth Closs Traugott, eds.
The Oxford Handbook of the History of English.
Oxford: Oxford University Press: 134-144.

Hundt, Marianne. 2001. "What corpora can tell us about the grammaticalisation of voice in
get
-constructions."
Studies in Language
25: 49-88.

Mitkovska, Liljana, and Eleni Bužarovska. 2012. "An alternative analysis of the English
get
-past participle constructions: Is
get
all that passive?"
Journal of English Linguistics
40: 196-215.

Mittins, William Henry, Mary Salu, Mary Edminson, and Sheila Coyne. 1970.
Attitudes to English Usage.
London: Oxford University Press.

Sorace, Antonella. 2000. "Gradients in auxiliary selection with intransitive verbs."
Language
76: 859-890.

Watts, Richard. 2011.
Language Myths and the History of English.
Oxford etc.: Oxford University Press.
But:
They got married
by a priest
.
4. Adjectival GET+ppl
The girls got drunk.
Criteria:
no agent
?the girls got drunk
by a beer
no equivalent active paraphrase
?the girls drank
ppl = adj (scale)
attributive use
the
drunk
girls
premodification
the girls got
only a little
drunk
stative verb
the girls
were very
drunk
5. Formulaic GET+ppl
He got stuck.
I will get rid of him.
She is getting accustomed to his quirks.

Criteria:
no active paraphrase
no by-agent
only adjectival use
idiomatic
no transparent relationship to historical participle
but: the beer got drunk by the girls
Hundt 2001
GET in COHA
The meaning of GET
onset of
possession
to get his daily bread
stative possession
have got
motion
get to Portugal
permission
get to attend meetings
obligation
have got to
inchoative
get angry
passive
get caught
~must
~have, possess
~obtain
~become
~be
~be allowed?
~arrive at
acquire knowledge
get my lessons
~learn
causative
get them to listen
~cause, make
(pace Givón & Yang 1994)
GET+ppl in COHA
positive evaluations
negative evaluations
Thank you
for your attention!

19c
get NP ppl
1820s
1830s
1840s
1850s
1870s
1880s
1890s
1810s
1810s
1820s
1830s
1840s
1850s
1880s
Criteria for Passive-hood
"delay"
caused by prescriptive comments?
GET-passive rarely criticised
some early adequate descriptions
Criticism of GET-passive a case of 20c prescriptivism?
possibly small proscriptive influence on GET-constructions in 1840s
no visible influence on GET-passive
"delay" in GET-passive cannot be due to 19c proscriptive comments
19c
Did proscription (criticism) affect GET-constructions?
Did proscription (criticism) affect GET-passive?
Did 19c criticism influence language use?
1910s-20s "Better English" Weeks (e.g. Crumpton 1916: "a fly to be swatted")
Sherwin Cody 1930s:
get married
"vulgar" (Battistella 2008)
Ballard 1939: defends
get married
(conveys "just the right sort of capture")
Mittins, Salu, Edminson, Coyne 1970: "the most recent handbooks have inclined towards categorical denunciation"
+anecdotal
...
20c criticism
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