A Standardization Process in its Final Stages

Mine and Thine in A Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760


DOI: https://doi.org/10.6018/ijes.369761
Keywords: Determiner, MINE/MY, THINE/THY, Early Modern English, Corpus of English Dialogues 1560-1760, Speech-related texts, Historical sociolinguistics, Historical pragmatics


This study concerns the development of the determiners mine/my and thine/thy in the Early Modern English period. The -n forms had essentially been ousted before words starting with consonants over the Middle English period, and over the subsequent centuries, these forms also fell into disuse before words starting with initial vowels and h. While the rise of the n-less variants has been the object of several previous studies, the present investigation aims at accounting for the fate of the declining n-variants in the Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760, a data source comprising speech-related texts. We look into the chronological stages of development for the declining mine and thine forms, the genres that maintained these forms longest, and the speaker groups that were the last to use the forms. Comparisons are made with the results obtained in previous studies on mine/my and thine/thy variation.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Merja Kytö, Uppsala University

Professor of English Linguistics, English Department, Uppsala University



CED = A Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760. (2006). Compiled by M. Kytö (Uppsala University) & J. Culpeper (University of Lancaster).

CEEC = Corpus of Early English Correspondence. (1998). Compiled by T. Nevalainen, H. Raumolin-Brunberg, J. Keränen, M. Nevala, A. Nurmi & M. Palander-Collin. University of Helsinki.

Helsinki Corpus = The Helsinki Corpus of English Texts. 1991. Compiled by M. Rissanen (Project leader), M. Kytö (Project secretary); L. Kahlas-Tarkka, M. Kilpiö (Old English); S. Nevanlinna, I. Taavitsainen (Middle English); T. Nevalainen, H. Raumolin-Brunberg (Early Modern English). University of Helsinki.

Penn Parsed Corpora = (i) The Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English. 2000. (2nd ed.). (PPCME2). Compiled by A. Kroch & A. Taylor; (ii) The Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Early Modern English. 2004. Compiled by A. Kroch, B. Santorini & L. Delfs, www.ling.upenn.edu/hist-corpora/PPCME-RELEASE-1


Barber, C. (1997). Early Modern English. (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Busse, U. (2002). Linguistic Variation in the Shakespeare Corpus: Morpho-syntactic Variability of Second Person Pronouns. Pragmatics & Beyond New Series (Vol. 106). Amsterdam/Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

Culpeper, J. & Kytö, M. (2010). Early Modern English Dialogues: Spoken Interaction as Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Graband, G. (1965). Die Entwicklung der frühneuenglischen Nominalflexion. Dargestellt vornehmlich aufgrund von Grammatikerzeugnissen des 17. Jahrhunderts. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Hilpert, M. (2013). Constructional Change in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jacobs, A. & Jucker, A. H. (1995). The historical perspective in pragmatics. In A. H. Jucker (Ed.), Historical Pragmatics: Pragmatic Developments in the History of English. Pragmatics & Beyond New Series (Vol. 35) (pp. 3–33). Amsterdam/Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

Jespersen, O. (1927). A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles (Vol. 2). Heidelberg: Winter; Copenhagen: Munksgaard.

Jucker, A. H. (2000). English historical pragmatics: Problems of data and methodology. In G. Di Martino & M. Lima (Eds.), English Diachronic Pragmatics (pp. 17–55). Naples: CUEN.

Kroch, A., Santorini, B. & Delfs, L. (2004). See Penn Parsed Corpora, above.

Kroch, A. & Taylor, A. (2000). See Penn Parsed Corpora, above.

Kytö, M. & Walker, T. (2006). Guide to A Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760. Studia Anglistica Upsaliensia (Vol. 130). Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.

Lass, R. (1999). Phonology and morphology. In R. Lass (Ed.), The Cambridge History of the English Language. Volume III: 1476–1776 (pp. 56–186). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Moessner, L. (2012). Early Modern English: Standardization. In A. Bergs & L. J. Brinton (Eds.), English Historical Linguistics: An International Handbook (Vol 1) (pp. 697–714). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Nevalainen, T. & Raumolin-Brunberg, H. (2003). Historical Sociolinguistics: Language Change in Tudor and Stuart England. London: Longman.

Pyles, T. (1971). The Origins and Development of the English Language. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Raumolin-Brunberg, H. & Nevalainen, T. (2007). From mine to my and thine to thy: Loss of the nasal in the first and second person possessives. In U. Smit, S. Dollinger, J. Hüttner, G. Kaltenböck & U. Lutzky (Eds.), Tracing English through Time: Explorations in Language Variation (pp. 303–314). Vienna: Braunmüller.

Schendl, H. (1997). Morphological variation and change in Early Modern English: My/mine, thy/thine. In R. Hickey & S. Puppel (Eds.), Language History and Linguistic Modelling (pp. 179–191). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Sweet, H. (1900). A New English Grammar: Logical and Historical. Part I: Introduction, Phonology and Accidence. (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Walker, T. (2007). Thou and You in Early Modern English Dialogues: Trials, Depositions, and Drama Comedy. Pragmatics & Beyond New Series (Vol. 158). Amsterdam/Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

How to Cite
Kytö, M., & Walker, T. (2020). A Standardization Process in its Final Stages: Mine and Thine in A Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760. International Journal of English Studies, 20(2), 95-116. https://doi.org/10.6018/ijes.369761