Howe, Stephen (1995) The Personal Pronouns in the Germanic Languages: A Study of Personal Pronoun Morphology and Change in the Germanic Languages from the First Records to the Present Day, PhD thesis, University of London.
This book for the first time examines the forms and development of the personal pronouns in all the Germanic languages over the whole recorded development. Chapters include Gothic, Older runic, English, Frisian, Dutch, Afrikaans, Langobardic, High German, Low German, Yiddish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Faroese and Icelandic. Theoretical chapters examine pronouns inflectional systems in detail, and put forward a comprehensive theory of how and why pronouns change. A number of the conclusions may have wider validity to the study of language change and pronoun systems.
Reviewed in Language March 1998 (74:1, pp. 189–192) (Katz, Harvard University):
‘…an important and original work that historical linguists, theoretical morphologists, and Germanicists will rely on for years to come’
‘Howe has provided a model “comprehensive investigation” for others to emulate’
‘H[owe] has produced a work of lasting value, for which all linguists should be grateful’
Also reviewed in:
Studies in Language (2001) 25(2): 357-361
Kratylos (2000) 45: 226-229
Journal of Indo-European Studies (1999) 27 (1-2): 230-231
Journal of English and Germanic Philology (1999) July, 396-398
Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik (1999) 66 (2): 220-221
Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur (1999) 121 (1): 109-113
Germanistik (1998) 39 (1): 37
Arkiv för nordisk filologi (1997) 112: 184
Leuvense Bijdragen (1997) 86: 233-236
Tijdschrift voor nederlandse taal en letterkunde (1997) 113 (1): 95
De Gruyter New Publications 1996:
‘…with this Howe makes an important contribution to the theory of language change. The fluent depiction and the overarching character of the study make the book an essential work for study and teaching’
Howe, Stephen and Henriksson, Kristina (2000) PhraseBook for Writing Papers and Research, digital book, English for Research, Cambridge, 1st edition.
Howe, Stephen and Henriksson, Kristina (2001) PhraseBook for Writing Papers and Research, digital book, English for Research, Cambridge, 2nd edition.
Howe, Stephen and Henriksson, Kristina (2002) PhraseBook for Writing Papers and Research, digital book, English for Research, Cambridge, 3rd edition.
Howe, Stephen and Henriksson, Kristina (2006) PhraseBook for Writing Papers and Research in English, digital book, English for Research, Cambridge, 4th edition.
Howe, Stephen and Henriksson, Kristina (2007) PhraseBook for Writing Papers and Research in English, paperback, English for Research, Cambridge, 4th edition.
‘this material, prepared by experienced editors, is certainly very useful’
‘this book has been designed to help nonnative speakers write…in English’
The Daily Yomiuri, Japan
The PhraseBook for Writing Papers and Research is designed to help non-native speakers write papers, books and theses at university and research level in English. It includes about 5000 words and phrases for university and research writing. Phrases are divided into around 30 main sections that follow the structure of university and research texts, such as Introducing a study, Defining the scope of a study, Arguing for and against, Reviewing other work, Summarizing and Conclusions.
The PhraseBook is used both as an individual reference and in classroom teaching in subjects ranging from Medicine, Science, Engineering and Technology to Law, Business and Economics, Geography, History, Sociology, Psychology, Language and Education. Users of the PhraseBook include academic staff, students and researchers at universities such as Oxford University, the University of Geneva, the University of Tokyo, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, as well as at organizations such as the Medical Nobel Institute and companies from pharmaceuticals to space technology.
Howe, Stephen (2007) ‘Looking In, Looking Out: Best And Worst Practice’, Paper presented at the 33rd JALT International Conference on Language Teaching and Learning, Tokyo, November 2007.
What can we learn from best practice in countries with successful foreign language teaching? And what can we learn from worst practice? This paper will examine various factors, both inside and outside the classroom.
By the time they graduate, school-leavers and university students in Scandinavia are almost all fluent in English, while their Japanese counterparts lag well behind. In fact, if we were to place two students of average ability side by side, one from Scandinavia, the other from Japan, the difference would be astounding. Furthermore, Scandinavian schools achieve good levels of English across the ability range. Nor is Japan unique in achieving low levels of foreign language ability – the English-speaking countries, too, achieve only very modest fluency in French, German or Spanish. The fact that Scandinavians speak excellent English is something we take for granted, but it is not a matter of course. Nor should it be treated as a matter of course that Japanese or native English speakers are ‘poor at foreign languages’. It is the result of a number of factors that Scandinavian students can speak a foreign language very well by the time they graduate, while most Japanese, British and US students cannot. What do Scandinavian schools and universities do, and what factors in Scandinavian society produce such excellent English ability? The aim of this paper is to make a preliminary attempt to unravel and outline what these might be.
The author has lived in Scandinavia and Japan.
Howe, Stephen (2009b) ‘Irregularity in pronouns’, Paper presented at the conference Irregularity in Morphology (and Beyond), Bremen, Germany, October 2009.
This paper examines the degree of regularity–irregularity and the complex morphology of personal pronouns. Theoretically, the morphology of the personal pronouns is analysed as representing two different systematic types: either systematic in terms of marking property connections or systematic in terms of marking property differences. The morphology of personal pronouns is in many cases grammatically, semantically and formally complex. Further, the paper discusses how accented and unaccented forms of the same pronoun can vary in their connection to one another. Not only can the personal pronouns show suppletive or suppletive-like distinctions between separate pronouns, i.e. not derivable by general synchronic rule, but also non-synchronically-derivable variants of the same pronoun can occur.
Finally, the author examines to what extent the factors discussed can be applied to comparable paradigms in other languages – the ‘irregularity’ of the personal pronouns and of comparable forms in many languages suggesting some common factors.
Howe, Stephen (2010a) ‘Personal pronouns in English and Japanese: A preliminary comparison’, Fukuoka University Review of Literature and Humanities, vol. XLI, no. IV (no. 163), pp. 1473–1504 (= Essays dedicated to Professors Ryutaro Ikegami, Atsumi Takada and Hiroaki Mizusaki in Honour of their Seventieth Birthday).
The first question to be asked in a study such as this is of course whether Japanese actually has personal pronouns in the sense of English and other European languages. Many Japanese specialists, for instance Suzuki (1978, see e.g. p.112), do not treat pronouns as a separate class. Smith terms them ‘personal referents’ and goes as far as saying that a ‘characteristic of the language is the absence in Japanese of anything remotely resembling the personal pronoun’ (1983: 74, my emphasis). Takeuchi (1999: 1) refers to forms such as watakusi, watasi, boku and zibun as ‘nouns of self-reference’, stating (1999: 64) that ‘morphologically, they do not form regular paradigms’. Hinds (1986: 238) states that ‘The primary problem is that, from a historical perspective, the group of words which is typically thought of as being pronouns, have nominal origins.’ Similarly, on forms such as watasi, anata, kare and kanozyo, Shibatani (1990: 371–2) writes that while they ‘are usually identified as personal pronouns, they are characteristically different from the personal pronouns in European languages’. Like Hinds, he states that etymologically most of the forms derive ‘from regular nouns’, citing watakusi from ‘private (thing)’, kimi from ‘emperor’ and anata from ‘yonder’.
Howe, Stephen (2011a) ‘Pronouns and politeness in English and Japanese’, Fukuoka University Review of Literature and Humanities, vol. XLII, no. IV (no. 167), pp. 1161–1201 (= Essays dedicated to Professor Jun Katata, Professor Toshitsugu Furukawa and Professor Yuzuru Mishima in Honour of their Seventieth Birthday).
This paper will examine pronouns and social deixis in English, Japanese and other languages. Respect, politeness, social distance and formality are complex areas of language use, particularly in Japanese. This short working paper will focus only on personal pronouns and their use (or non-use). The paper will first discuss respect degrees in pronominal reference based on a survey of over a hundred languages worldwide, followed by a brief examination of reciprocity and non-reciprocity. It will then look at English and Japanese pronouns, and 2nd person, 1st person and 3rd person reference – referring to you, me and others – followed by a discussion of avoidance of pronominal reference. The final sections of the paper examine the use of names and titles and change in forms of reference.
Reviewed in The English Teachers’ Magazine, published by Taishukan, Japan, March 2012, pp. 66–67.
It is a great puzzle that although we all instinctively ‘know’ what human language is, it is surprisingly difficult to nail down concrete, incontrovertible universals. Naively, one might assume that it would be easy to state such apparent truisms as ‘all languages have nouns and verbs’, but even this is more problematic than one might believe (cf. Croft 2003: 13–19, Tomasello 2003: 17–19). Nevertheless, if we hear people chatting in an unfamiliar foreign tongue on a train, although we cannot understand what they are saying, we sense they are using a human language like ours in a way that we do not with the whistles of dolphins, songs of birds or dances of bees. And the fact that, with sufficient exposure, any human child can learn any human language provides ample and repeated proof of the universals that must be present. It is indeed astonishing that human languages can appear outwardly so different in their sounds, grammar and vocabulary, yet any human child can learn any human language without instruction. Even as adults, although learning a new language is often laborious, it is not impossible, given sufficient exposure, practice and motivation.
Howe, Stephen (2013a) ‘North Sea Germanic Pronouns’, The Bulletin of the Central Research Institute, Fukuoka University, series A, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 5–18.
Howe, Stephen (2013b) ‘Origins, development and loss of personal pronouns’, Paper presented at the 3rd conference of the Japan Society for Historical Linguistics, Tohoku University, November 2013.
Personal pronouns are often described as a ‘closed class’, but in fact new pronouns can and do develop, and pronouns can be lost (as demonstrated by English ‘thou’). This paper examines how new personal pronouns arise, and why pronouns are lost from a language. It also examines the sources of new personal pronouns, including directional deictics, reflexives, borrowing, compounding (including addition of lexical plurals), sandhi and pronominalisation of titles. The paper draws on English and Japanese as well as other languages. It considers why Old English had around 36 personal pronouns but Modern English only about 19. It also looks at possible ‘depronominalisation’, the replacement of pronouns by lexical forms, in Japanese. Examination of these types of developments can allow us to evaluate uncertain etymologies in the light of empirical evidence (one obvious example being the origin of English ‘she’). It may also help us put forward hypotheses for the origins of personal pronouns in human language.
Howe, Stephen (2014a) ‘Language variation and change: What varies and what never changes’, Paper presented at the Language Variation and Change Research Forum, Kyushu University, May 2014.
Howe, Stephen (2014b) ‘Old Frisian personal pronouns: morphology and change’, in Directions for Old Frisian Philology, ed. by Rolf H. Bremmer Jr, Stephen Laker and Oebele Vries, Amsterdam and New York: Brill/Rodopi (= Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik 73) (January 2014), pp. 201–242.
Howe, Stephen (2014c) ‘The etymologies of Old Frisian iemma(n) and himmen’, Paper presented at the 20th Frisian Philologists’ Conference, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, December 2014.
This paper will examine the etymologies of the Old Frisian 2nd and 3rd person plural pronouns iemma(n) and himmen. There are two main explanations for these forms: one by Siebs (1901) that they derive from the dative plural, the other by Van Helten (1889) that they derive from addition of ‘man/men’. Neither theory is entirely satisfactory. Although distinction by analogical extension is relatively well attested in the personal pronouns in Germanic languages (Howe 1996), Siebs’ explanation envisages a somewhat complex sequence of case distinction followed by levelling, followed by redistinction, followed again by levelling. A problem with Van Helten’s man, men explanation is that 3rd person plural forms such as hi(a)rem seem unlikely phonetically to derive, directly at least, from a combination with man, men, suggesting rather the addition of dative plural inflection to a genitive base.
The author will discuss a hybrid explanation based on both theories. He will show a parallel development in English dialect and review similarities with Guðmundsson’s explanation of dual pronouns as plurals in Icelandic.
Cambridge News (2015) ‘Do you speak Ely? If “jearse”, he wants to hear from you…’, newspaper report about A Language Survey: Jearse and Dow, January/February.
Howe, Stephen (2015a) ‘Emphatic yes and no in East Anglian dialect: jearse and dow’, Paper presented at the 2nd Southern Englishes Workshop, University of Cambridge, England, 23 March 2015.
This paper looks at emphatic yes and no in East Anglian dialect. In a variety of East Anglian English, non-emphatic forms for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are, as in much of English, yeah and no. However, emphatic forms are jearse and dow. This East Anglian dialect thus has a four-form ‘yes’–‘no’ system, with yeah–jearse and no–dow. The paper will examine the origins and use of jearse and dow, neither of which is recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary or the Survey of English Dialects. The author will also compare other forms for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in English, including the standard yes and informal yeah, non-emphatic un, and regional or archaic aye, yea and nay, as well earlier ‘yes’–‘no’ systems in English. The paper will conclude by briefly reviewing ways of answering in the affirmative or negative in other languages.
Howe, Stephen (2015b) ‘Are “yes” and “no” universal?’, Paper presented at the Language Variation and Change Research Forum, Fukuoka University, 30 May 2015.
Howe, Stephen (2015c) ‘Learning English in Sweden and Japan: an overview’, Fukuoka University Review of Literature and Humanities, vol. XLVII, no. I (no. 184), June, pp. 97–128.
Howe, Stephen (2015d) ‘The origin and meaning of “yes” and “no”’, Invited talk, Fukuoka Linguistic Circle, Fukuoka University, Japan, 18 July 2015.
The starting point of this presentation is the forms for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in my home dialect of East Anglian English. In this dialect, unemphatic forms for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are, as in much of English, yeah and no. However, emphatic forms are jearse and dow; neither is recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary or the Survey of English Dialects. The paper will suggest a possible origin of these forms. The presentation then examines the origin and meaning of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ particles in language more generally. It asks how languages express ‘yes’ and ‘no’, what ‘yes’ and ‘no’ stand for, and whether ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are universal. It also examines the well-known difference between English and Japanese and other languages in answering negative questions (such as Don’t you love me anymore?), where ‘yes’ in one language corresponds to ‘no’ in another. Finally, I will discuss paralinguistic ‘yes’ and ‘no’ (as in English uh-huh, uh-uh, Japanese un, uun) and ‘yes’ and ‘no’ gestures, also asking whether these are universal. The presentation will conclude by suggesting a possible origin of forms for ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
Howe, Stephen (2015e) Interview about research on jearse and dow, emphatic words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in East Anglia, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Sue Dougan Lunchtime Live, 29 July 2015.
Howe, Stephen (2015f) Studio guest on BBC Radio Suffolk, talking about research on jearse and dow, emphatic words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in the East of England, Lesley Dolphin Show, 17 August 2015.
Howe, Stephen (2015g) Studio guest on BBC Radio Norfolk, talking about research on jearse and dow, emphatic words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in the East of England, Nicky Price Breakfast Show, 19 August 2015.
Howe, Stephen (2015h) Studio guest on BBC Radio Lincolnshire, talking about research on jearse and dow, emphatic words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in the East of England, Melvyn in the Morning, 21 August 2015.
BBC Online (2015) Stephen Howe’s mission from Japan: Is that a ‘jearse’ or a ‘dow’?, 20 August 2015.
Fukuoka University News (2015) 人文学部英語学科スティーブン・ハウ准教授が英国のBBCラジオに出演, website in Japanese, 31 August 2015.
Eastern Daily Press (2015) ‘Yes or no…help us shed light on two little words’, column by Peter Trudgill, 7 September 2015.
Howe, Stephen (2015i) ‘The forms of “yes” and “no” in English: origin and development’, Paper presented at the 5th conference of the Japan Society for Historical Linguistics, Hokkai-Gakuen University, Sapporo, 20 December 2015.
Howe, Stephen (2016c) ‘Eastern English in America: ‘dow’ and ‘jearse’ in New England’, Paper presented at the 3rd Southern Englishes Workshop, University College London, 19 February 2016.
English has surprisingly many words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’. These include the standard yes and no, regional or archaic yea and nay, aye and ayuh, and colloquial yeah. We can also say yep and nope, vocalise uh-huh and uh-uh, and gesture ‘yes’ and ‘no’ by nodding and shaking our heads. In addition, in Eastern English a significant number of speakers have emphatic forms of ‘yes’ and ‘no’, namely jearse and dow. Neither is recorded in the OED, SED or EDD. However, ‘jearse’ and ‘dow’ have been found by the author in a large swathe of Eastern England from the Stour to the Humber. ‘Dow’ and ‘jearse’ are also used in Northeast America. They were not recorded by LANE; however, DARE cites daow(d) or dow in Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and possibly New York State. There is also day-oh in Rhode Island and daow in New Hampshire. For ‘jearse’, there is jyes and djess in parts of New England and jass in Upstate New York. Colonists from Eastern England may have brought ‘dow’ and ‘jearse’ to New England in the seventeenth century. Four hundred years later, this distinctive feature of Eastern English still survives. The first part of the presentation will examine the extent of ‘dow’ and ‘jearse’ and ask why New England might preserve the speech of Eastern England from four centuries ago? And are ‘jearse’ and ‘dow’ recorded in plays from East Anglia or court records from New England? The second part of the presentation will put forward a number of paths of development of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ particles in an attempt to account for the various forms in a unified theory. What commonalities can we find in the development of yea, yes and aye, no and nay, yep and nope, and jearse and dow?
Howe, Stephen (2016d) ‘Learning English in Sweden and Japan, Part 2: Obstacles to fluency’, The Bulletin of the Central Research Institute, Fukuoka University, series A, vol. 15, no. 5, February, pp. 77–84.
Howe, Stephen (2017) ‘Aye–aey: An Anglo-Frisian parallel’, Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik 77, Issue 1-2, June, pp. 210–242. Download preprint.
The most widespread form for neutral “yes” in the Survey of English Dialects is not yea or yes, but aye. It is used not only in the North and Midlands, but also in areas of the South of England. It is a feature of Scottish English, and is familiar from government in many English-speaking countries. We also find the aye-like ayuh in Northeast America. “Aye” appears suddenly about 1575 and is “exceedingly common” around 1600; it is initially written I and its origin, like yes, is uncertain. Ay is also found in Old Frisian, as well as Sater Frisian today (öäi, a’äi etc.). This study reviews a number of proposed etymologies, examining which can account for the occurrence or development of ay(e) in both languages. Based on a wider study of change in forms of “yes” and “no” in English, I argue that aye–ay is a parallel development of interjection + particle. The study also suggests functional and phonological overlap with the pronominal echo I in English, but not Frisian, with the vocalic form of the pronoun and diphthongisation in the “Great Vowel Shift”, accounting for the popularity and spelling I of “aye” around 1600.
Howe, Stephen (2018) ‘Emphatic yes and no in Eastern English: jearse and dow’, in Southern English Varieties: Then and Now, ed. by Laura Wright, Berlin and Boston: de Gruyter Mouton (= Topics in English Linguistics, vol. 100, ed. by Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Bernd Kortmann), pp. 148–187.
Basic universals of human language (2018), article about my research, The Wolfson Review 2018, Cambridge University, p. 41.
Howe, Stephen (2019) ‘Primary universals of human language’, Invited talk, Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, 29 March 2019.
Howe, Stephen (in preparation) ‘Pirahã and the red herring’.
Howe, Stephen (in preparation) ‘Revisiting Hockett’s duality of patterning’.
Howe, Stephen (in preparation) ‘Language variation and change: What varies and what never changes’.