Commentary

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1. Introduction: Defining the periods of English As being a contentious issue, arbitrariness can be expected in terms of the divisions of different English language periods. In this essay, I am taking Nevalainen’s (2006:1) perspective, who is a favourer of the idea that 1700 is the dividing line of early and late Modern English periods. The date created for my two Frederick Hamilton’s letters are in 1790 and 1810 respectively. Therefore, they both belong to the late Modern English period. In the process of transliteration, Five salient syntactic interests, two morphological interests and two orthographic interests of my transliterated passages constitute the major part of the commentary, followed up by a brief conclusion. 2. syntactic interest 2.1 disordered direct object and indirect object In present day English, the position of a direct object and an indirect object is interchangeable by replacing the indirect object with a prepositional phrase following the direct object (Quirk et. 1985:59). The former can also be called the thing-object, the latter is person-object (Pautsma 1928:212). However, deviation from this rule is found in HAM/1/4/2/15. (1) I enclosed to you at Taxal a Post Bill… One more example is quoted from HAM/1/4/2/28. (2) Mr Greoille has notified to me his surprise and concern… (1) and (2) can be amended as: (1a) I enclosed a Post Bill to you at Taxal… (ambiguity of the adverbial adjunct phrase of place can be found in 2.3) (1b) Mr Greoille has notified his surprise and concern to me… As Pautsma (1928:216) stated, the misplaced construction was actually employed in not a few cases in lModE, which can be largely attributable to the author’s desire to enhance the quality of literary or rh... ... middle of paper ... ...on. 3.1.2 the use of apostrophe for modal auxiliaries Another common use of contraction apostrophe in my letters is for modal auxiliaries. For instance, wou’d for would, shou’d for should, cou’d for could. This is further confirmed by Oxford English Dictionary, in which all the examples of contracted modal auxiliaries are documented in the 18th and 19th Century. 4. Letter writing 4.1 Capitalization According to Crytal (2003:67), it was not until early 17th century that titles, forms of address and personified nouns have experienced capitalization, as Frederick Hamilton’s practice of capitalisation of Miss, Mrs and Mz. Furthermore, in the 18th Century, authors can use capital letters for any noun that conveyed important information for him. Crytal (2003:67). Followings are the capitalised words in my letters: Post Bill, Postman, Daughter… 4. Conclusion

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