Heark, Hark Ye, Harkee: A History of Forms


  • Marco Bagli University of Genoa





 The present paper investigates the relationship between Early Modern English spelling fluctuation and grammaticalisation, by looking at the evolution of the different forms of the pragmatic marker harkee, which emerged from an imperative matrix clause headed by the verb hearken/hark. The phenomenon of spelling fluctuation intervenes at multiple levels in the data and in the process under scrutiny. Firstly, the verbs that constitute the matrix clause present alternative spelling forms, with or without the digraph <ea>, and with or without final <e>. Secondly, an attentive review of the grammaticalisation process of the pragmatic marker hearkee/harkee reveals that this form emerges from a constellation of alternative spelling forms at the end of the 17th century. This paper offers a quantitative analysis of the occurrences of the different spelling forms of the verbs in the matrix clause from which the pragmatic marker emerged. Furthermore, it provides empirical data towards models of the syntactic development of pragmatic markers, by mapping the frequency of evolution of distinct syntactic environments in Early Modern English.




How to Cite

Bagli, M. (2023). Heark, Hark Ye, Harkee: A History of Forms. Status Quaestionis, (25). https://doi.org/10.13133/2239-1983/18568