The Diachronic Evolution of the Complementation Profile of REMEMBER from Late Modern to Present-day British English
The emergence of gerund-participial complement clauses (CCs) is considered to be one of the major developments of the Great Complement Shift (Rohdenburg 1996: 2006) and has contributed to the alleged long-term trend for the growth of non-finite CCs in the English language (Denison 1999: 256). The verb remember saw its complementation profile altered by the introduction of gerundparticipial CCs, which entered into free competition with finite declarative CCs when the meaning of the verb is ‘recall’. This envelope of variation is studied here in terms of frequency distribution and the language-internal factors that influence the choice in Present-day British English (BrE). Results are compared to Cuyckens et al. (2014) findings for the Late Modern English period. The data show that the distribution of finite and non-finite CCs stabilised in the last century: the trend in English towards growth in the proportion of nonfinite CCs is not observed in this study. As for factors conditioning CC variation, non-structural factors (e.g. CC meaning) are key variables disfavouring non-finite CCs in Present-day BrE, while structural factors appear not to influence the choice today, unlike in Late Modern English, where both structural and non-structural factors conditioned the variation observed (Cuyckens et al. 2014).