Corpus-based studies of Middle English adverb largely: syntax and information-structure
The study aims at exploring the adverb largely in late Middle English based on the Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse, in terms of its functioning as a sentence Focus marker. The article considers syntactic changes in English from the language with V2 tendencies to the one with verb-medial order. Such differences make sentence information structure disrupted, and new elements arise in the language as ‘therapy.’ The assumption made in this paper is as follows: the word largely emerging in English in ca. 1200 starts functioning as a focusing adverb in 1400 as a result of the shift in the main word order patterns. Moreover, investigating late Middle English syntactic structure and taking into account different types of foci based on information structure tagging throughout the Corpus, the study found that positional variations of adverb largely are used as a mechanism of marking a peculiar type of Focus and are governed by its position in relation to the word it modifies.
Key words: adverb, word order, information structure, Focus, Topic