To be or not to be? Or — to not be? Dochází ke změně v postavení anglické záporky not a infinitivního to?

To be or not to be? Or — to not be? Is a Change Taking Place in the Ordering of the Negator not and the Infinitive Marker to?

Jakub Sláma




The paper notes that while grammars and other linguistic works assume that not precedes the infinitive marker to in English, one can quite often encounter the reverse ordering, to not. The second section provides an overview of the relevant literature. The third section compares spoken data from the British National Corpus and the Spoken BNC2014, and analyzes the written data from the Corpus of Historical American English, concluding that the frequency of to not (relative to not to) has indeed been rising significantly in recent decades. The fourth section attempts to identify some factors underlying this change, most importantly chunking and potential semantic differentiation. It is suggested that chunking might be an especially important factor affecting the change, but further analysis is needed, relying on more advanced statistical methods.


chunking, kognitivní lingvistika, kolostrukční analýza, konstrukční gramatika, rozdělený infinitiv, syntaktická variace


chunking, cognitive linguistics, collostructional analysis, construction grammar, split infinitive, syntactic variation




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