This article is an attempt to determine possible factors that affect the arrangement of a name and the title king in apposition in the transitional period from Old English to Middle English from a prosodic perspective as a first step to explain how preferred patterns have shifted from the types represented by Alfred King, the King Alfred and Alfred the King in Old English to almost exclusively the type represented by King Alfred in Present-Day English. Contrary to the common and generally sensible judgment of avoiding poetic texts in a syntactic investigation such as this, the present study analyzes the two extant versions of La?amon's Brut, an Early Middle English metrical chronicle, on the grounds that verse may serve a better purpose than prose when intonation and rhythm are centrally involved, as is the case with this study. Use of searchable large-scale electronic corpora may at first glance seem more suitable for research of this kind, but such studies involving multiple texts of different periods, places and types are prone to oversimplification, and crucial details may be missed or glossed over. For a more detailed and coherent account of the development of appositive constructions, this study provides an in-depth analysis of the linguistic situation in a single body of closely related texts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas