Article published in:Contact, Variation, and Change in the History of English
Edited by Simone E. Pfenninger, Olga Timofeeva, Anne-Christine Gardner, Alpo Honkapohja, Marianne Hundt and Daniel Schreier
[Studies in Language Companion Series 159] 2014
► pp. 113–136
“Pained the eye and stunned the ear”
Language ideology and the progressive passive in the nineteenth century
My paper is a close analysis of prescriptive comments on the progressive passive over the course of the nineteenth century, based on my collection of 258 nineteenth-century grammar books. I investigate how the progressive passive was evaluated, which language ideologies were involved, and what the criticism can tell us about the construction (and its users) in return. Linking these comments to corpus studies of the rise of the progressive passive, my paper shows that the extreme salience of this construction (to grammar writers) can be explained by referring to its perceived complexity, its text-type sensitivity, and the social status of its users. The singular status of the progressive passive as the “most hated” construction of English is also compared to other constructions that did not attract the same degree of venomous comments.
Published online: 11 September 2014
Cited by 3 other publications
Hundt, Marianne, Paula Rautionaho & Carolin Strobl
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 27 february 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.
ARCHER A Representative Corpus of Historical English Registers, see Biber et al. (1994)
BNC British National Corpus
, see Aston & Burnard ( 1998), available at <http://corpus2.byu.edu/bnc>
COHA Corpus of Historical American English
, see Davies ( 2012), available at <http://corpus2.byu.edu/coha>
CONCE Corpus of Nineteenth-Century English
, see Kytö et al.( 2006a)
ECCO, Eighteenth Century Collection Online
Aarts, Bas, Lopez-Couso, Maria José & Méndez-Naya, Belén
Submitted. Language between Description and Prescription: Verb Categories in Nineteenth-Century Grammars of English. Oxford: OUP.
Forthcoming. The decline of the BE-perfect, linguistic relativity, and grammar writing in the nineteenth century. In Late Modern English Syntax in Context, Marianne Hundt (ed.) Cambridge CUP
Aston, Guy & Burnard, Lou
1880 A Treatise on English Grammar and Composition. Containing Copious Exercises in the Structure of Language, Classification, Analysis, Parsing, Rules of Syntax, False Syntax, and Punctuation, Arranged in a Suitable Form for Dictation Exercises; also, Examples of Social and Business Correspondence, Illustrating the Use of the Active, Passive, and Progressive Forms of the Verb, and the Arrangement of Paragraphs and Sentences. San Francisco CA: Barnard and Brothers.
Beard, John R.
Biber, Douglas, Finegan, Edward & Atkinson, David
1857 The Institutes of English Grammar, Methodically Arranged; with Forms of Parsing and Correcting, Examples for Parsing, Questions for Examination, False Syntax for Correction, Exercise for Writing, Observations for the Advanced Student, Five Methods of Analysis, and a Key to the Oral Exercises: to which are Added Four Appendixes. Designed for the Use of Schools, Academies, and Private Learners, new edn. New York NY: Samuel S. and William Wood. First published 1823.
1843 Improved System of English Grammar, with Copious Exercises and Explanatory Observations; Adapted Alike to the Use of Schools, and to the Purpose of Private Tuition. Glasgow: Andrew Rutherglen, Griffen & Co., and Orr & Sons; Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, and A. & C. Black; Aberdeen: Lewis Smith; Perth: James Dewar; London: Longman & Co., Simpkin, Marshall, & Co., and Whittaker & Co. First published 1831.
Cruttenden, David H.
1870 A Rhetorical Grammar of the English Language, in which an Objective and Synthetic First Course, to be Used by the Student as Reading Lessons after Oral Instructions by the Teacher, is Combined with a Subjective and Analytical Second Course, Designed to Assist the Student in Mastering the Science of Language and its Applications. Revised Edition. New York NY: J.M. Bradstreet and Son.
2010– The Corpus of Historical American English: 400 Million Words, 1810–2009. <http://corpus.byu.edu/coha/>.
Dawnay, William Henry
Fewsmith, William & Singer, Edgar A.
1845 An Improved Grammar of the English Language, on the Inductive System; with which Elementary and Progressive Lessons in Composition are Combined. For the Use of Schools and Academies, and Private Learners, stereotype edn. Philadelphia PA: Sorin and Ball; and Boston MA: B.B. Mussey. First published 1844.
Hart, John S.
Jones, Gareth Stedman
Kenyon, William Colgrove
Kytö, Merja, Rydén, Mats & Smitterberg, Erik
Leech, Geoffrey, Hundt, Marianne, Mair, Christian & Smith, Nicholas
2011 Oxford English Dictionary online. Oxford: OUP. <www.oed.com>
Parker, Richard G. & Fox, Charles
Pratt, Lynda & Denison, David
Sanborn, Dyer H.
1840 Analytical Grammar of the English Language, Embracing the Inductive and Productive Methods of Teaching, with Familiar Explanations in the Lecture Style; Appropriate Parsing Examples, both in Etymology and Syntax; Questions Subjoined for Recitation; Exercises in False Syntax; Orthography, Punctuation, Enunciation, Figures, and an Appendix. In Five Parts. Being a Complete System of Grammar, Containing much New Matter not Found in Other Grammars. Designed for the Use of all who Wish to Obtain a Thorough and Practical Knowledge of the English Language. Concord NH: Marsh, Capen, Lyon, and Webb. First published 1836.
Smith, Nicholas & Rayson, Paul
Smith, Nicholas & Leech, Geoffrey
1851 An English Grammar, on Synthetical Principles, Illustrated by Exercises for Grammatical Analysis; with Numerous Examples of False Syntax: Adapted to all Classes of Learners. New York NY: Mark H. Newman & Co.; Auburn NY: J.C. Ivison & Co.; Chicago IL: S.C. Griggs & Co.; Detroit MI: A. M'Farren; and Cincinnati OH: Wm. H. Moore & Co. [First published 1849].
Spencer, John T. & Hayden, S.A.
Weld, Allen H.
Wells, William H.
1862 An Analytical, Illustrative, and Constructive Grammar of the English Language. Accompanied by Several Original Diagrams, Exhibiting an Occular Illustration of some of the most Difficult Principles of the Science of Language; Also, an Extensive Glossary of the Derivation of the Principal Scientific Terms Used in this Work, in Two Parts, for the Use of Every One who may Wish to Adopt it. Raleigh: W.L. Pomercy. [First published 1854].