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My research interests are focussed on the history of English Syntax. To do this properly means that I need some theoretical syntax (but here my most serious work has been in monostratal frameworks), electronic corpora or databases, and a variationist perspective.
I have recently been involved in the annotation of two major databases, the Parsed Corpus of Early English Correspondence (in collaboration with the Research Unit for Variation and Change in English Language at the University of Helsinki), and the York-Toronto-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Old English Prose.
My most recent papers are variationist. One (2006) demonstrates that stylistic evaluation affected the occurrence of DO NOT in the seventeenth century: this has implications for the analysis of grammatical change at this period. Another (2007) demonstrates that there are several types of inversion of subject and verb in Chaucer’s period, distinguishing their properties.
I am continuing to work in a variationist framework on the dialectal distribution of inversion of subject and verb in Chaucer’s period, and on the analysis of the auxiliary DO in Shakespeare’s period.