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Gif your e grace will command me with ony service ye sail fynd me obedient: on the use of will and shall in Older Scots if-clauses.


The Scots modal auxiliaries will and shall are used to express a range of modal meanings, such as obligation, the volitional meanings intention, willingness and refusal, as well as prediction, which overlap in some uses, e.g. intention, but are clearly distinguished in others, e.g. obligation denoted by shall. This paper investigates the use of will and shall in Older Scots conditional clauses as represented in the Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots, which covers the majority of the Older Scots period with a wide range of texts composed between 1450 and 1700. The investigation is based on a stratified sample of one thousand instances of will and shall respectively, which were analysed according to specific parameters such as modal meaning and syntactic context.

The goals of this study are two-fold. In a first step, it seeks to highlight characteristic contexts and conditioning factors, both language external and internal, which favour the use of either will or shall. In a second step, it aims at describing the contexts in conditionals in which either modal is possible. Since if-clauses are the prototypical realisation of conditional sentences, they will form the basis of my analysis.

In the first part of the paper, I will give a short historical outline of conditional modality and the use of modal periphrasis in conditional sentences (2.1) and afterwards provide a brief overview of previous research on conditional sentences relevant to this study (2.2). This will be followed by a survey of the modal meanings expressed by will and shall (3). The method applied in the study will then be outlined (4) and in the main part the findings of the analysis will be presented (5). The discussion of the findings will first address the characteristic environments for the use of will and shall in the protasis of if-conditionals (5.1). Finally, I will discuss the conditioning factors influencing the choice of will or shall in the apodosis of /conditionals as well as those that allow either modal auxiliary (5.2).


2.1 The historical development of modality in conditional sentences

Conditional sentences typically consist of two parts: the protasis, i.e. the subordinate clause which expresses the condition, and the apodosis, i.e. the main clause expressing the conditional consequence. In Old English through to early Modern English and also in Older Scots, (g)if(that) is the most common subordinator in the conditional protasis, but there are also other subordinators such as and as well as conjunctive phrases, e.g. in cas (that) (cf. Fischer 1992: 348; Moessner 1997: 139; Rissanen 1999: 309; Traugott 1992: 256). Further, there are other ways of expressing conditionality, for instance by inversion (1) or the use of an imperative (2) (cf. Fischer 1992: 349; Moessner 1997: 140; Rissanen 1999: 308-09).

(1) Be thirfollowaris Franche-men, than pai effectionat be to zow Scottis; be thai of ony vthir natioun than will I be content as zow sayis.

'If these followers are Frenchmen, then they will be partial to you Scots; if they are of any other nation, then I will be content as you say.' (1)

SC1, Pamphlet, William Lamb, Ane Resonyng of Scotland, 1550,

<P 9>

(2) and gerr 'thame trow thou drinkis /--quhen thou sail mak bot maner' /--And sa sail thou gerr ' otheris be blythe

'and make them believe that you are drinking when you are only pretending to, and that way you will get others to be merry.' SC0, Education, The Prose Works of Sir Gilbert Hay. The Buke of the Gouvernaunce of Princis, 1456, <P 74>

As concerns the type of condition conveyed in conditional constructions, generally, two kinds can be distinguished: open and remote conditionals. Whereas open conditionals refer to a possibility which may be fulfilled in the future, remote conditionals present hypothetical conditions which are considered unreal or unrealisable (Huddleston and Pullum 2002: 739; Visser 1966: [section] 860).

In the apodosis of open conditionals the future consequence of the condition introduced in the protasis can in all time periods be expressed by the present indicative referring to the future and in Middle and Modern English also often by a modal construction with shall or will followed by the infinitive (Visser 1966: [section] 735). In Old and Middle English the subjunctive may also occur in the conditional apodosis (Visser 1966: [section] 860).

The apodosis of remote conditional constructions may express the hypothetical consequence by means of a past subjunctive in Old and Middle English (Visser 1966: [section] 861). Since this use of the subjunctive became obsolete in Modern English, in Present-Day English the apodosis of a remote conditional must have a modal auxiliary followed by an infinitive (Huddleston and Pullum 2002: 739).

Regarding the modal means used in conditional protases, in Old English, the verb may occur both in the subjunctive and in the indicative (Visser 1966: [section] 880), with the latter being the more common mood (cf. Fischer 1992: 349). In Middle and early Modern English, on the other hand, verbs are regularly found in the subjunctive mood in conditional protases (Rissanen 1999: 308; Fischer 1992: 349-50). In the Northern varieties of late Middle English the subjunctive is almost obligatory in conditional protases (cf. Fischer 1992: 349). Moessner confirms the preference for the subjunctive in conditional protases for Older Scots. It is only after the conjunction if and after were nocht that the indicative mood is used in Older Scots conditional protases (Moessner 1997: 139). Shall is an alternative to both the subjunctive and the indicative mood in conditional protases from Old through to early Modern English, when the use of the modal auxiliary declines considerably (Visser 1969: [section] 1519). The possibility of modal auxiliaries occurring in conditional protases is pointed out by Rissanen for early Modern English (1999: 308).

2.2 Previous research on modality in conditionals

Both conditional sentences and the development and use of the modal auxiliaries have been the subject of various diachronic studies (for conditionals cf. e.g. Cougil-Alvarez & Gonzalez-Cruz 2004, Fodor 2010, Rissanen 2010 and Traugott 1997, for modal auxiliaries cf. e.g. Amovick 1990, Fischer 2003, Gotti 2002 and Warner 1993). Only a few studies, however, consider the use of modal auxiliaries in English conditionals (e.g. Gonzalez-Alvarez 2003). For Scots, I am not aware of any studies on the interplay between conditionals and modal auxiliaries in any of its historical stages.

In this overview of previous research on modality in English conditional sentences, I will concentrate on those studies that are of relevance to the present paper. The few studies that focus on modality in conditionals tend to be theoretical in nature and only two of them have a diachronic focus. Tynan and Delgado Lavin (1997) compare the use of mood and tense in Present-Day English and Spanish. They argue, among others, that although in English conditional protases will is not normally used because no assertion is made, it is possible to employ will when the future event is certain to occur. A further comparative study by Willmott (2009), contrasting evidence from contemporary English with Ancient Greek, is concerned with the modality expressed by English conditional sentences. In opposition to traditional belief, she identifies the apodosis of conditionals rather than the protasis as the indicator of the type of condition, i.e. either real or hypothetical. She contends that, unless modal verbs convey a special modal force, the modality expressed in the conditional apodosis is generally epistemic, but different from the epistemic modality expressed by the modal verbs must and may.

Whereas the previous two studies are concerned with the interplay of modality and conditionality in Present-Day English, Gonzalez-Alvarez (2003), in her study, investigates the mood used in conditional protases in two letter corpora in early and late Modern English respectively. She finds that there is an observable decline in the use of the subjunctive from the early to the late Modern period. Contrary to expectation, the subjunctive is typically not replaced by a modal verb construction but rather by the indicative (2003: 305). Claridge (2007), in a study focusing on early Modern English, analyses the textual functions of if-clauses in the Lampeter Corpus of Early Modern English Tracts. The conditionals are categorised into groups that correspond to different textual functions, such as content-related and discourse-relevant. The study shows that conditionals, when used in a particular function, typically co-occur with a particular set of modal auxiliaries, e.g. can and will in discourse-relevant conditional clauses (cf. Claridge 2007: 234-35).


The Scots modal auxiliaries will and shall denote modal meanings that historically developed for verbs with full referential meaning. The Old English preterite-present verb *sculan has the lexical meaning 'to owe' and the anomalous verb willan has the meaning 'to wish'. These lexical meanings gave rise to the modal meanings of obligation in the case of *sculan and volition in the case of willan (cf. Fischer and Wurff 2006: 146-152). The meanings expressed by will and shall can be divided into the three categories deontic, dynamic and epistemic (cf. Collins 2009; Huddleston and Pullum 2002). For will and shall, deontic modality comprises the expression of obligation, dynamic modality the expression of volition, i.e. intention, willingness and refusal, and propensity and epistemic modality predictions and probability judgements. In Older Scots, the two modals are semantically clearly distinguished in some uses. Only shall expresses obligation, typically in rules and regulations stipulated by an external authority, as in (3).

(3) Item pe saidis lord~ of pe Sessione sall haif full power~ to knawe and decide all spoliacion~is maide fra pe day of pe coronacione of o=r= sou~ane lorde pe king to pe saide first day of Januar~

'Likewise, the aforementioned Lords of Session shall have full power to investigate and decide upon all plunders made from the day of the coronation of our sovereign Lord the King to the aforesaid first day of January'

SC0, Parliament, The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 1457, <P 47.C2>

The volitional meanings willingness (4) and refusal (5), i.e. negated willingness, on the other hand, are exclusively expressed by will.

(4) sa gif we wil examine our selfis, we sal find thair schooe (as we vse to say) meit aneuch for our fute,

'So if we are willing to examine ourselves, we will find their shoe (as we say) well fitting for our foot,'

SC2, Sermon, Tracts by David Fergusson, Minister of Dunfermline, 1563-1572, <P 70>

(5) Thay sine aganis this command quhilk wil noth heir na leir the word of god /

'They sin against this command who refuse to hear or teach the word of God.'

SC1, Education, John Gau, The Richt Vay to the Kingdom of Heuine, 1533, <P 14>

However, some modal meanings are shared by the two modal auxiliaries. Both modals may be used for the expression of intentions and predictions about the future, but with different distributional patterns. According to the Scottish National Dictionary (SND), in Scots, will is used in the first person for predictions without denoting intention (6).

(6) I feir we will get na mair than fywe lib~s. for the boll off our wictuall this yeir,

'I am afraid that we will get no more than five pounds for the boll of our victual this year.'

SC2, Private Correspondence, Sir Alexander Gordon of Navidale to his brother, 1616, <P 128>

In turn, in the first person intention is often expressed by shall (7) (cf. SND, s.v. will, V.).

(7) but I shall show your letter to the Lord Treasurer

'but I will (=I intend to) show your letter to the Lord Treasurer' SC3, Official Correspondence, Sir Lord Mackenzie to Lord Marquis of Athole, 1684, <P36>

This use runs counter to the traditional prescriptive rule given for Present-Day Standard English, which requires shall in the first person for predictions (cf. Huddleston and Pullum 2002: 195). In an earlier investigation of the distribution of will and shall according to grammatical person and modal meaning in the Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots (HCOS) I could show that the use of first-person volitional will declines from 1500 to 1700. First-person volitional shall, on the other hand, is used fairly frequently throughout the Older Scots period (cf. Elsweiler forthcoming). Apart from these general developments, the study further reveals that there are preferences of one modal over the other in the two parts of conditional sentences. Will, for instance, is primarily employed in the protasis of conditional sentences, as in (8), though hardly ever in the first person.

(8) gif he will at oure request accept pe charge of pis were, the tutory and goverment of his nevo, quhill +geris of perfectioun, to him sal be committit,

'If he will (= is willing) at our request accept the charge of this war, the guardianship and guidance of his nephew during his minority shall be entrusted to him'

SC1, History, Hector Boece, The Mar Lodge Translation of the History of Scotland, cl 533, <P 163>

In (8), will in the conditional protasis refers to Caratake the King of the Scots' willingness to lead the war against the Romans.

Shall predominantly features in the conditional apodosis, as illustrated in (9).

(9) If I learne farther, I sall either subioyne it to thir lynes, or desire Sir William Alexander or Sir Archibald Acheson report it to your lordship.

'If I find out more, I will (= intend to) either add it to these lines or ask Sir William Alexander or Sir Archibald Acheson ... to report it to your lordship.'

SC2, Official Correspondence, Letter by the Earl of Haddington to the Earl of Menteith, 1629, <P 165>

The Earl of Haddington employs shall in (9) to express his intention to add any news to the letter he is currently writing. Examples (8) and (9) demonstrate that will and shall are not only employed in different parts of the conditional sentence, but that they also express different meanings, willingness in (8) as against intention in (9), and pragmatic functions, i.e. consent in (8) versus commitment in (9). In light of such distributional preferences, the question arises which factors underlie these patterns of usage.


The present study is part of a more comprehensive investigation of the development of the core modal auxiliaries in Older Scots. It is based on the Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots (HCOS), which covers the period from 1450 to 1700. The HCOS is further divided into four sub-periods, SCO (1450 to 1500), SCI (1500 to 1570), SC2 (1570to 1640) and SC3(1640 to 1700). Each of these periods covers a range of up to fourteen different genres, which are ideally meant to be the same in all sub-periods to allow for easy comparability. However, the first two sub-periods have a more limited range of genres and only SC2 and SC3 cover all fourteen genres. The texts included in the HCOS also vary in length.

For my comprehensive investigation of the use of will and shall in Older Scots, I conducted a regular expression search for both modal auxiliaries. I then drew a random stratified sample of one thousand instances of will and shall each, keeping the ratio of their frequency in the individual texts in all the periods covered in the corpus. (2) This sample was analysed according to various parameters, above all modal meaning, but also syntactic features, e.g. their use in main clauses or subordinate clauses and their respective types, for instance conditional clauses. Since conditions can be introduced in various ways in Older Scots (cf. Moessner 1997: 139-40 and section 2.1), I further subdivided the protases of conditionals into different types, such as if-clauses, and-clauses, inverted word order and imperatives.

This paper focuses on the use of will and shall in if-conditionals, the most common realisation of a conditional sentence. The if-conditionals were analysed according to linguistic parameters, which include above all the modal meanings expressed by will and shall. Modal meanings can be determined by applying certain tests, such as substitution tests with modal paraphrases. Modal constructions denoting intention such as I shall send ane bill to yow can, for instance, be glossed by 'I intend to send' and predictions such as He that sal cum eftir me by 'who is thought to come'. Other indicators of modal meaning are modal adverbs, e.g. doutles 'doubtless', and verbs in the matrix clause. So trast and trow 'both: trust' indicate predictions, statut and ordanit 'decreed and ordained' obligations. The analysis of the if-conditionals also includes the pragmatic and discourse uses of will and shall, their co-occurrence with different moods and the presence of the two modals in passive constructions, as well as the extralinguistic parameter genre.


A purely quantitative analysis of the use of will and shall in if-conditionals in the HCOS data shows that the protases have 1.7 times more instances of will than they have of shall. In the apodoses, on the other hand, the instances of shall outnumber those of will by more than half.

A Pearson's Chi-squared test with Yates' continuity correction showed that there is a highly significant association between the part of the if-conditional and whether will or shall is chosen: [X.sup.2] (l) = 20.3783, p-value = <0.001, i.e. the distribution of will and shall is not random. Therefore, the fact that will is preferred in conditional protases and shall in conditional apodoses is not simply due to chance.

In the HCOS sample the two modals feature mostly in open conditionals expressing real conditions which may be fulfilled in the future.

5.1 The protasis of if-conditionals

The fact that will occurs forty-six times in my sample, which is 1.7 times as often as shall with twenty-seven instances, suggests that there may be a distributional preference in favour of will. If we look at the breakdown of this total number into the four sub-periods in Table 2, we observe an even more striking contrast in SCO (1450-1500), where will has eleven instances compared to only one instance of shall. The number of occurrences of will stays relatively stable. It has to be said, however, that the word count of the texts in the sub-period SCO is less than half of the total number of words in each of the other three sub-periods. (3) Shall, on the other hand, sees an increase over the sub-periods SCI to SC3, in particular in SC2 (1570-1640) and SC3 (1640-1700).

The discrepancy between the use of will and shall in the protasis of if-conditionals in the time periods SC0/SC1 on the one hand and SC2/SC3 on the other is statistically significant ([X.sup.2] (l) = 5.9321, p < 0.01), i.e. it is to be noted, in particular, that the increase of instances of shall between the sub-periods SC0/SC1 and SC2/SC3 is not due to mere chance.

In the following, I will consider characteristic contexts that may influence the choice of will or shall in the protasis of if-conditionals. As a linguistic context, I identified the modal meaning expressed by will and shall. As an extralinguistic context the genre in which the respective modals are used.

5.1.1 Modal meaning as factor for the choice of will

For will, my data show that its choice is primarily determined by its modal meaning. In her study on the use of the subjunctive in conditional protases in early and late Modem English (2003: 306) Gonzalez-Alvarez found that the use of modal verbs as a substitute for the subjunctive is reserved for cases in which a specific meaning is to be conveyed. This is certainly also corroborated for will in my sample from the HCOS. Thirty-nine out of a total of forty-six instances denote volition. In seven if-clauses will expresses intention, cf. (10):

(10) and gyf the sayd Schyr Wylyam wyll byge a hous in the west syde of the landis of the said osspytall he sail haf guid wesse thairto

'and if the aforementioned Sir William will (= intends to) build a house on the west side of the lands of the aforesaid hospice, he shall inspect it thoroughly' SC0, Record, Charters and Documents Relating to the Burgh of Peebles, 1473, <P 170>

The condition in (10) may be paraphrased by 'if the aforementioned Sir William intends to build'. In the majority of instances, however, will is used to consider the possibility of a person's willingness (11) or refusal (12), i.e. non-willingness. (4)

(11) I dynit with the Bishop of Ely, and efter conferred with him upon dyvers purposes, specially of an union to be maid in the Religioun be a Generali Counsell, quhilk is easy, gif the Princes will apply them selfes therto.

'I dined with the Bishop of Ely, and afterwards conversed with him about diverse topics, especially of a union to be made in the protestant religion by a general council, which is easy if the Princes will (= are willing to) apply themselves to that.' SC2, Diary, The Diary of John Lesley, Bishop of Ross, 1571, <P 134>

Whereas in the condition in (11), which may be glossed by 'if the princes are willing to apply themselves to it', will is employed positively, in (12) the refusal is expressed by the use of negated will.

(12) ffor gif a knycht or a lord. haue all thir forenamyt vicis jn him / or ony part of thame /. and walde punys ' otheris and will nocht punys' him self /--that is nocht the rycht way of justice /

'for if a knight or a lord has all these aforementioned vices in him, or any part of them, and was wont to punish others and will not (= refuse to) punish himself, that is not the right way of justice.' SC0, Education, The Prose Works of Sir Gilbert Hay. The Buke of the Ordre of Knychthede, 1456, <P22>

For will, the factor genre is not a good predictor, since the instances are spread relatively evenly across various genres, with the exception of educational treatises, where will occurs fairly frequently in the protasis of if-conditionals with a total of fourteen occurrences over all four sub-periods. Most of the instances are clustered in the first sub-period SCO (1450-1500), five of which occur in Gilbert Hay's Buke of the Ordre of Knychthede and Buke of the Gouvernaunce of Princis, which translate the French versions Le Livre de l'ordre de chevalerie, which are based on Ramon Llull's Catalan Llibre de l'ordre de cavalleria and Le Secret des Secrets respectively (Glenn, 1993, pp. vii-xii). In Hay's mirror for princes the instances of will feature, for example, in a passage on the bodily humours, which details how the four humours can stay in balance as a consequence of proper nutrition. The if-clauses containing will are embedded in an argumentative passage, for which the author likewise uses if-conditionals to build and substantiate his argument for a measured diet to maintain the balance of humours (cf. 13).

(13) ffor ay the contrary is curit with his contrary /--ffor gif a man be hate and dry of nature and he be fed with hate and dry metis /--than suld he sone be at ane end ffor he mon haue equalitee of humouris gif he will haue lestand hele

'Because always the opposite is cured with its opposite. For if a man is hot and dry by nature and he is fed with hot and dry foods, then he would soon be dead, because he must have balance of humours if he wants to have long lasting health.' SC0, Education, The Prose Works of Sir Gilbert Hay. The Buke of the Gouvernaunce of Princis, 1456, <P 90>

The other if-conditionals in this passage contain instances of will in their apodoses. Hay employs the conditional sentences in the construction of his argument for temperance by making use of a sequence of three if-conditionals. In the first two if-clauses of the sequence he biases the reader towards his desired reading so that he can present his conclusion by means of the third if-conditional (cf. example (34) in section 5.2, where the role of if-conditionals in argument construction is addressed in more detail.).

5.1.2 Genre as factor for the choice of shall

The if-clauses containing shall are of a completely different nature. The use of shall in these protases is largely conditioned by genre, since the vast majority of the instances of shall occur in legal texts, i.e. Acts of Parliament and Burgh Records as well as Trial Proceedings. The language of legal texts is highly formulaic with recurrent expressions, so-called lexical bundles (cf. Biber et al. 1999: 993-94; 996-97 and Kopaczyk 2013), and the use of shall should also be seen in this formulaic context. However, shall only starts to be employed in if-clauses in the legal genres in my HCOS sample in the second sub-period SC1 (1500-1570) in Burgh Records with five instances and then sees a further rise in SC2 (1570-1640) and SC3 (1640-1700), with eight and ten instances respectively. (5) This rise may be explained by the fact that after the Middle English period, during which the subjunctive was particularly common in conditional protases in Northern Middle English (Fischer 1992: 349-350), the indicative gradually became more frequent in Modern English (Visser 1966: [section]880) and modal periphrasis was an alternative (Rissanen 1999: 308) to the subjunctive and the indicative. All three options are also observable in conditional protases in the HCOS, as illustrated in the examples below, which use the same construction with the verb happin in the subjunctive (14), the indicative (15) and the modal periphrasis with shall (16).

(14) And It happin +te byare to sell agai~ +te samy~ land to ane v+t~ p~sone It is now sene expedient in +tis pn~t p~liame~t & according to law & c-science that +te sellare sail haue Recours~ to +te samyn land~ sauld be him

'If the buyer happens to sell the same land again to another person, it is now thought appropriate in this present parliament and according to law and conscience that the seller shall have access to the same land which was sold by him.' SC0, Parliament, The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 1469, <P 94.C2> &<P 95.C1>

(15) And gif it happv~nis ony wolf to cu~ in +te cu~tre +t=t= witting is gottyne +t~of+te cu~tre salbe redy

'If a wolf happens to come into the country and this is found out, the country shall be ready' SC0, Parliament, The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 1457, <P52.C1>

(16) And that al p~son~s within thai bound~ / geif It sail happin owe ennemyis to Invaid the realme be sey in thai partis to be redy for the Resisting & Inpugnacioun~ of +tame.

'And that all persons within those bounds, if our enemies should invade the realm by sea in those parts must be ready to resist and attack them.' SC0, Parliament, The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 1481, <P 139.C 1>

According to Gonzalez-Alvarez (2003: 305) modal auxiliaries are used in c. twenty per cent of the protases in early Modem English. What is interesting about the rise in instances of shall in conditional protases is the fact that the modality expressed by shall is weak. Only one out of twenty-seven occurrences of shall denotes obligation, cf. (17):

(17) And forthi giffe the trewis sail stande. it lyes to yhour heenes to se for chastyninge of trespassouris

'And therefore if the truce shall (=is to) last, it is your Highness's responsibility to provide for the chastisement of the trespassers' SC0, Official Correspondence, James of Douglas to King Henry IV of England, 1405, (6) <P65>

The modal construction with shall in (17) can be glossed by 'if it is necessary that the truce lasts' to highlight the meaning of obligation. The remaining twenty-six instances add only weak modal colouring, as is illustrated in (18): (7)

(18) And if the objecters shall not be cleared and acquiesce, They shall take Instruments Containing their Objections against the admitting to, or excluding any person from the foresaid Roll

'And if the objectors are not cleared and agree, they shall take notarial instruments containing their objections against the admitting to or excluding any person from the aforementioned roll [of election]' SC3, Parliament, The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 1681, <P 354.C1>

In (18), it is not possible to substitute shall with a modal paraphrase such as 'are predicted' to test for prediction or 'it is necessary that' for obligation. Moreover, in Present-Day English, this use of shall in the conditional protasis is no longer found; instead the present tense would be employed (cf. Visser 1969: [section]1519). It may therefore be argued that the use of shall is a redundant means to mark conditional modality since it conveys a notion of possibility or chance in line with the conditionality already expressed by the if-clause (see also Visser 1966: [section]880). In the HCOS, nine of the twenty-two instances of shall in legal texts occur in formulaic constructions with the verb happin 'to come about (by chance); to occur, to befall' (.Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST), s.v. happin, v.), as in (19) and (20).

(19) And gif the said~ sercheouris in executioun of thair offices salhappin to be deforceit The committaris of be said deforcement sal be rigorous lie punissit

'And if the aforementioned searchers happen to be forcibly kept from the execution of their offices, those responsible for the aforesaid deforcement shall be punished rigorously' SC2, Parliament, The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 1587-1621, <P 495.C1>

(20) And giff It salhappin anye man~ to win anye sowmes of money at Carding Or dyceing Attoure the soume of ane hundereth merkis within the space of Tuentie four houres

'And if any man was to win any sums of money at card or dice games around the sum of one hundred marks within the space of twenty-four hours' SC2, Parliament, The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, Act XIII, 1587-1621, <P613.C2>

The verb happin in such constructions reinforces the use of shall as a modal marker of chance. However, the construction with shall is paralleled by if-clauses with the verb happin used in the indicative as illustrated in example (15) above, given again below (cf. also Kopaczyk 2013: 233-34).

(15) And gif it happy~nis ony wolf to cu~ in +te cu~tre +t=t= witting is gottyne +t~of +te cu~tre salbe redy

'If a wolf happens to come into the country and this is found out, the country shall be ready' SC0, Parliament, The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 1457, <P 52.C1>

This parallel use of the conditional protasis with the indicative and with shall shows that for some speakers the conditionality is sufficiently expressed by the conjunction if and the meaning of the verb happin. A further characteristic of the happin-construction in the HCOS is that in five cases shall is joined onto happin in the manuscript, as exemplified in both (19) and (20) above. (8) This may be an indicator of a nascent lexicalisation process of the lexical bundle. Some regional varieties of English have lexicalised the modal auxiliary may into an adverb when it was followed by certain verbs, e.g. univerbated forms such as maybe and the synonymous mayhappen (Beal 1997: 367-368). According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), mayhappen developed out of the impersonal construction it may happen (s.v. mayhappen, adv.). Scots and Northern English varieties have also lexicalised the subjunctive of the verb happin into an adverb with the same meaning as mayhappen and maybe (s.vv. OED happen, adv. and DOST happin, adv.). The modal verb construction salhappin meets similar criteria as these lexicalised modal adverbs. It has a formulaic character and both shall and happin convey an element of 'chance', as is also the case with may and happen.

5.2 The apodosis of if-conditionals

Whereas will is the preferred modal auxiliary in conditional protases, except for shall in the lexical bundles found in legal texts, in the apodosis of if-clauses a clear preference for shall over will can be observed, with shall having more than double the number of instances of will. An increase of the use of will is noticeable in the sub-periods SC2 (1570-1640) and SC3 (1640-1700), with twenty and eighteen occurrences respectively.

The preference for shall over will in both the early time periods SC0/SC1 and the late periods SC2/SC3 proves statistically highly significant [X.sup.2] (1) = 16.8481, p <0.001.

The vast majority of the instances of will denote prediction. The increase of instances of will in the second half of the sixteenth and in the seventeenth century reflects the overall rise of predictive will in the HCOS data (cf. Elsweiler forthcoming).

During my analysis I examined various possible conditioning factors that have determined the choice of will ox shall. Some of them proved more conclusive than others. I investigated a possible link between the mood in the protasis and the choice of will or shall. For neither modal auxiliary do my data show a clear preference for a particular mood in the antecedent. Both will and shall are frequently preceded by the indicative or the subjunctive. Most of the subjunctive forms are instances of the verb be, which, unlike other verbs, has a formally clearly marked subjunctive. In a number of cases, due to the Northern Subject Rule, when the verb is immediately adjacent to a subject realised by a personal pronoun in the plural it is impossible to tell which mood the verb is used in (cf. King 1997: 175-77; Rodriguez Ledesma 2013: 149-50). (9) Instead of the indicative or subjunctive moods the if-clause may also contain a modal auxiliary.

Although my analysis showed that the mood in the protasis does not influence the choice of either will or shall in the apodosis, I found other factors, both linguistic and extralinguistic, that do, which I will discuss in the following sections. As linguistic factors I have identified modal meaning and pragmatic meaning expressed by the two modal auxiliaries, the occurrence of the modals in the passive voice and discourse structure. The investigated extralinguistic factor is genre. Then, I will turn to some characteristic contexts in if-conditionals in which both modal auxiliaries are found equally.

5.2.1 Conditioning factors favouring the use of shall

Passive voice

Out of the two modal auxiliaries will and shall, shall is preferred in combination with the passive voice. It is used in passive constructions in thirty out of 109 apodoses. By contrast, the forty-eight conditional apodoses in the HCOS sample contain merely two instances of will in passive constructions, both in its predictive meaning. (10) There is, moreover, a link between the use of shall in passive constructions and genre. Twenty out of the thirty passive constructions containing shall occur in legal texts, where regulations are expressed, as in (21):

(21) and gif the persewer and defender be puir and may nocht pay the vnlaw thai sall be pvnist in thair persouns.

'and if the pursuer and defender are poor and may not pay the fine, they shall be personally punished.' SC1, Record, Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, 1545, <P 116>

Seoane has shown that legal texts in the late Modern English period typically contain a higher percentage of passive constructions as compared to other genres such as drama or private letters (2013: 78). She found that short passives like in (21) help to omit stereotypical agents, such as the authorities issuing a regulation (2013: 82-83). This also explains the preference for passive constructions in combination with obligational shall in the legal genres represented in the HCOS. Despite the high number of passive constructions with obligational shall, the modal auxiliary may also occur in the passive for predictions (cf. 22):

(22) And now, gif pow slay me, thy presonere, haistelie with my dede I sail be for+gett

'And now, if you kill me, your prisoner, I will soon be forgotten after my death.' SC1, History, The Mar Lodge Translation of the History of Scotland by Hector Boece, c. 1533, <P 185>

In conclusion, the preference for, primarily, obligational shall in passive constructions is linked to legal texts, where the passive allows the omission of the subject, i.e. the authorities issuing the regulations.

Modal meaning

A further factor that may determine the choice of either will or shall in conditional apodoses is modal meaning. However, unlike in the protasis of if-clauses, in the apodosis the modal meaning expressed by will and shad is not particularly suitable as a predictor of the choice of either modal. In various genres, both will and shall are used for future predictions and to express intention, i.e. the modal meanings that both modal auxiliaries share, as in examples (23) through (26) below.

In example (23), taken from a text classified as religious instruction in the HCOS (Meurman-Solin 1995: 58), sal is used to predict that the devil will only inflict harm on people if they willingly follow his temptations. Shall is often the preferred predictive modal auxiliary in religious texts (cf. Gotti 2006: 106-09).

(23) and It is to wyt, quhat temtacioun~e at euir the deuill putis to man sal nocht noy hyme hot gyf he wylfully consent thar-to

'and it is to be noted that whatever temptations the devil presents to man, they will only harm him if he willfully consents to them' SC0, Education, Craft of Deyng, 1450, <P 168>

Sentence (24), however, illustrates the predictive function of will in King James VFs mirror for princes, the Basilicon Doron, a non-religious educational text. King James VI reminds his son of the importance of choosing a wife of equal rank. The apodosis he nill euer be the lesse acconmptid of thairafter predicts the consequence for a monarch of first marrying a wife below his own standing.

(24) remember also that mariadge is ane of the greatest actions that a man dois in all his tyme, especiallie the taking of his first uyfe, & gif he marrie first baselie beneath his ranke he uill euer be the lesse accoumptid of thairafter

'remember also that marriage is one of the greatest actions that a man does in all his lifetime, especially taking his first wife; and if he first marries low beneath his rank, he will always be held in less esteem after that.' SC2, Education, James VI, Basilicon Doron, 1598, <P 129>

Both shall and will may also be employed to express the modal meaning intention. In example (25) from the sixteenth-century pamphlet Ane Resonyng by William Lamb, a dialogue between an English and a Scottish merchant, the Scotsman counters the English merchant's justification of the longstanding war between England and Scotland. In the conditional apodosis, the main clause sail I mak all +gour weiris iniust lends voice to the Scot's intention to disprove the Englishman's argument.

(25) Giffe this be maist just weir pat Ingland maidpir thowsand +geiris (\a contra\) pe Scottis, than sall I mak all +gour weiris iniust, God to borrow!

'If this is a most just war that England wages these one thousand years against the Scots, then I will (= intend to) make all your wars unjust, in God's name!' SC1, Pamphlet, William Lamb, Ane Resonyng of ane Scottis and Inglis Merchand betuix Rowand and Lionis, 1550, <P 17>

The private letter by the Earl of Sutherland to his brother Sir Robert Gordon exemplifies the use of intentional will in the conditional apodosis. In example (26) the Earl of Sutherland first declares his intention to negotiate with the bishops on the subject of his warrant and then adds a cautionary note in the post-posed protasis.

(26) for quhen I get the said warrand, I think to enter and to tak instrumentis that my cationaris ar relived; thaire fter I will deall with the bischopes wpon my warrand, if [{!{] gett it.

'for when I get the aforementioned warrant, I intend to enter and take notarial instruments so that my cautioners are cleared; then I will (= intend to) deal with the bishops on my warrant, if I get it.' SC2, Private Correspondence, John, Twelfth Earl of Sutherland, to his brother, 1615, <P 118>

There is only one context where the choice of modal auxiliary is predictable. When shall occurs in legal texts, it is used exclusively for orders and regulations, expressing obligation, as in (27):

(27) And if the import & returne shall be of lesse quantities. Then and in that cace these co~modities shall only be sold in whole sale without any retaill whatsoever.

'And if the imported and returned [fish] are of less quantity, then and in that case these commodities shall only be sold in the wholesale and not in retail at all.' SC3, Parliament, The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 1666, <P 260.C1>

The modal meaning of obligation, which is close to the lexical meaning of shall in Old English 'to owe (money)', is not shared by will.

Politeness strategies

A further genre where one particular use of shall is evident is letters. In the conditional apodoses, volitional shall is frequently found in the first person in the pragmatic context of the polite expression of strong commitment, as in (28): (11)

(28) and gyf it be possybyll that ther may be fund ony tymme to performe the Kyngis plessour and desyre, as ze haf wrytyne with Ser James, I sal do my devour and full best to convoy that mater at all punctis,

'and if it is possible that there may be found any time to perform the King's pleasure and desire, as you have written to Sir James, I shall do my utmost and very best to convey the matter in all points,' SC1, Official Correspondence, letter by Gavin Douglas to Adam Williamson, 1515, <P 71>

The poet and postulate of the Abbacy of Arbroath, a close confidant of the Scottish Queen Regent Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII of England, promises his services to Adam Williamson. This commissive speech act occurs in the context of Douglas's prospective promotion to the bishopric of Dunkeld. Douglas entreats Williamson to support his candidacy by reminding him of the favours he had shown him before. In return, Douglas promises support for the English king's cause, although the condition set in the protasis qualifies this as unlikely.

All in all, in the apodoses of the if-clauses in my HCOS sample, I found eight instances of first-person shall in commissive speech acts in the genres Official and Private Correspondence. The frequent use of first-person shall as a strategy to undertake commitments is also highlighted by Del Lungo Camiciotti (2008: 124) in her study of the form and function of undertaking commitments in nineteenth-century English business letters. Whereas, according to her findings, first-person will is equally used in commissive speech acts, although to a lesser extent than shall, my sample does not contain any if-conditionals in which will is used to express a strong personal commitment. (12) A search for further instances of this use of shall in the private and official letters included in the HCOS outside my sample yielded five more such commissive uses of shall. There are several examples in which commissive shall is embedded in a sequence of politeness strategies. Such politeness strategies and, more generally, the expression of politeness in historical texts and in particular in letters have been the object of a number of studies, in particular with a focus on forms of address (e.g. Nevalainen and Raumolin-Brunberg 1995; Nevala 2004; Raumolin-Brunberg 1996; Fitzmaurice 2000). In the conditionals used as politeness strategies, the if'-clause provides a hedge to mitigate the strong commitment expressed in the apodosis. //-clauses are listed as a very common linguistic means employed to hedge illocutionary force by Brown and Levinson (1987: 162), which, according to Lakoff, modifies the pragmatic force of a speech act (1972: 213; cited in Brown and Levinson 1987: 145). Such hedges, as pointed out by Culpeper and Kyto (1999: 298) in their study of hedges in early Modern English dialogues, can be used both in positive and negative politeness strategies. They may serve to protect the speaker's positive face and to threaten the hearer's negative face. (13) In the case of the if-conditionals in the HCOS, the if-clause helps to preserve the negative face of the addressee, as illustrated in (29):

(29) and gyf your grace pleis to command me to ony service in to the partis quhare I am bown to I salbe reddy at your gracis charge in the auld manere;

'and if your Grace pleases to command me to do any service for the parties I am about to head to, I will be ready at your Grace's charge in the old manner;' SC2, Official Correspondence, letter by Earl Bothwell to the Queen Dowager, 1549(7), <P 284>

In (29) the letter-writer commits himself to serving the Queen, but only if she wishes him to do so. The condition placed on the commitment voiced by Bothwell acts as a hedge in that it takes some of the pragmatic force out of the promise. It therefore saves the Queen's face by leaving her the choice to command Bothwell or not. The bulk of the if-conditionals employed as hedged commissive speech acts, i.e. eight instances, occur in official letters addressed to Mary of Lorraine, the Queen Dowager, by men of comparatively lower standing. It is a negative politeness strategy applied in correspondence with a person of superior social status (cf. Nevala 2004: 2138). This politeness strategy, however, appears to be formulaic in character in that similar phrasings recur (e.g. gyf yowr grace and the ambasadour thynkis necessair ... I sail be reddy at command). Such use of formulaic language in polite contexts is corroborated by Del Lungo Camiciotti, who found in her study of nineteenth-century business letters that politeness in commitments is expressed by "modulating the speech act according to standardised norms" (Del Lungo Camiciotti 2008: 127). Private letters have a lower incidence of shall with only five instances over the periods SCI to SC3. Two of these are examples of commissive shall, both used by female writers, as in (30):

(30) As to my coming vost, quhan ye pies to send for me I salbe redy. I haif nether hors nor man of myn heir, bot any ye think gud to send. Gif ye pies, I sal send and borou my sister s haiknay.

'As to my coming west, when you please to send for me I will be ready. I neither have my own horse nor servant here, but [will accept] any you think good to send. If you please, I will send and borrow my sister's hackney.' SC2, Private Correspondence, letter by Juliana Ker, Lady Binning, to her husband, no year, <P 125>

In this letter Lady Binning voices her discontent at being spatially separated from her husband in a very humble fashion. She entreats him for a speedy reunion, but completely submits herself to his desires and choices. The commissive speech act mitigated by the preceding gif ye ples must be read in this context of a humble request of a wife extended to her husband, of an inferior to a superior in terms of participant relationship (cf. Meurman-Solin 1993: 180-81).

As mentioned before, first-person will is not employed for commissive speech acts in the HCOS sample. However, the sample contains two instances of first-person will used to express intention on the part of the letter-writer. The two examples, both by the same author but in different letters, resemble one another in that in both of them will is used in the conveyance of possibly unpleasant information to the addressee (cf. 31 and 32):

(31) It is rumoured heer that some great men of this countrie at court haue such seuerall ends in particulars as make their concurrence not to be so vniforme as is wished for the publicke goode. If it be so, wherof I sould be most sorie, I will be bold to entreate vour lordship to persist in that indifferent course, ayming onlie at his Maiesties seruice and the countries good, which your lordship has practised in your actions, and professed to me by conference to be your constant resolution.

'It is rumoured here that some great men of this country at court have such different goals in particular that make their assistance not as united as is wished for the public good. If this is so, of which I would be very sorry, I will be bold and request your lordship to persist in that indifferent course, aiming only at his Majesty's service and the country's good, which your lordship has practised in your actions and professed to me in communication to be your constant resolution.' SC2, Official Correspondence, Thomas, Earl of Haddington to William, Earl of Menteith, 1629, <P 166>

In the conditional apodosis in (31) the Earl of Haddington conveys his intention by means of a modal construction with will (I will be bold ...), to plead with the addressee of the letter, the Earl of Menteith, not to deviate from his course. The adjective bold suggests that the author is concerned about being a cause of annoyance for the Earl of Menteith. Nevertheless, he feels the need to trouble him. The relative clause wherof I sould be most sorie, politely qualifying the conditional apodosis, serves to tone down the intention expressed by will.

In (32), the Earl of Haddington employs a similar conditional construction to (31).

(32) If at the meeting of the counsell vpon the fyfteent I learne any thing fit to be wretin I will then and alt following occasions be troublesome to your lordship by my letters

'If at the meeting of the council on the fifteenth I leam anything requiring to be written, I will then and on all following occasions be troublesome to your lordship by my letters' SC2, Official Correspondence, Thomas, Earl of Haddington to William, Earl of Menteith, 1629, <P 167>

First he introduces a possible cause that would make him approach the Earl of Menteith in the conditional protasis. Consequently, the apodosis expresses his intention to be troublesome, which like bold in (31), conveys his concern of hurting his negative face.

The polite phrasing of the conditional apodoses tones down the intention expressed by will. Both apodoses are reminiscent of other politeness formulae employed in official letters, such as sen I will nocht molest your grace in reding my lang letter is and I am layth your grace suld be melestit with lang writin. (14) Letters, which have been shown to follow conventions and established models (cf. e.g. Meurman-Solin 1993: 122), commonly display the use of such formulae as polite tools.

5.2.2 Conditioning factor allowing both will and shall

Both will and shall occur in if-conditionals which are used in the construction of arguments. Claridge's study of if-conditionals in early Modern English political and scientific texts showed that if-clauses are used to explicitly outline the motivations and structures of the discourse (Claridge 2007: 235). In example (33), taken from Gilbert Hay's Buke of the Gouvernaunce of Princis, the author opts for a sequence of three if-clauses to build his case for eating in moderation:

(33) ffaire sone Alexander' - thou mon first vnderstande yat the noble ancienephilosophouris fand be naturale science /yat all man is maid of four' elementis / - and of four ' contrarious ' humouris / and has ay nede of metis and drynkis to nuris ' that composte /- or ellis he may nocht lest / And than (33a) gif he takis mare of sik Ivftade na nedefull is--till his nature he will be seke /-And (33b) gif he takis lesse na is nedefull alssua he will be seke /. And (33c) gif he vsis hot movenlv and mesurablv with temperance / yat may suffice till his corpolence and complexioun - he will be lang hale - ande Ivve lang lyf/(numbering inserted by me)

' Dear son Alexander, you must first understand that the noble ancient philosophers found out by natural science that every man is made of four elements and of four opposing humours, and always has need of food and drink to nourish this composition, or otherwise, he cannot survive. And then if he takes more of such food than is necessary to his nature, he will be sick. And if he takes less than is necessary, he will also be sick. And if he consumes but moderately and measuredly and with temperance so that it is sufficient for his body size and complexion, he will stay healthy for a long time and live a long life.' Education, The Prose Works of Sir Gilbert Hay. The Buke of the Gouvernaunce of Princis. 1456 (SC0), <P 88>

The first two if-conditionals (33a) and (33b) explore the consequences of excess, both of eating too much and too little, in the protasis. The apodosis predicts the negative consequences for the body by employing a modal verb construction with will (he will be seke). The third if-sentence (33c) suggests the possibility of moderation in the protasis and predicts the resulting benefits (he will be lang hale ... ) in the apodosis. Claridge considers if-conditionals as a polar framework since the protasis is like a polar question that can either be answered by yes or no. If the answer is yes, the content in the apodosis is valid. If the answer is no, the apodosis may not be applicable. Further, "the writer has the means to bias the if-clause towards one reading through choice of tense/mood structure of the conditional, use of negation and explicit relation to biasing preceding or following discourse" (Claridge 2007: 239). Hay employs the possible polarity encapsulated in conditionals for the construction of his argument. He biases his first two if-clauses (33a) and (33b), in which he presents both extremes, towards a yes-outcome. This paves the way for the necessarily positive outcome of the third if-clause (33c), which advocates temperance and predicts a beneficial outcome in the apodosis. For the prediction of the outcome expressed in the apodosis, instead of will, shall may also occur in if-conditionals employed for the purpose of argument construction, as in (34).

(34) A Motive to press you to close with Christ is, that (32a) five will not obey and close with him ye shall be found guilty of the Blood of Christ, and Despisers of the Covenant, wherein ye have been sanctified; (32b) five refuse him ve shall be found guilty of the Blood of Souls. Therefore five will not close with Christ this Day, take home with you all the Blood of Ministers and Professors, for it shall be laid to your charge.

'A motive to urge you to accept Christ is that, if you will not obey and accept him, you shall be found guilty of the blood of Christ, and despisers of the covenant in which you were sanctified. If you refuse him, you shall be found guilty of the blood of souls. Therefore, if you will not accept Christ today, take home with you all the blood of ministers and professors, because it will be laid to your charge.' SC3, Sermon, John Welsh, An Alarm to the Backsliding Generation in the West of Scotland, 1679, <P 21>

The example in (35) demonstrates that both will and shall can be used to express the predicted outcome in the apodosis.

(35) for thocht a wickit man (as sayis Ezechiell) beget a sone, zit gif he feare and commit na sic wickitnes, his Fatheris impietie sall not be laid to his charge; bot gif he follow his Fatheris euill exampill, then will the Lord visite the iniquitie of the Father vpon the sone. Thairfoir maist justly (say I) ar thirpepils wickit Fatheris castin in thair teith, becaus thay ar found in the lyke wickitnes.

'for even if a wicked man (as says Ezechiel) begets a son, yet, if he feels fear and commits no such wickedness, his father's impiety will not be laid to his charge. But if he follows his father's evil example, then the Lord will inflict the iniquity of the father on the son. Therefore, most justly (I say) are these people's wicked fathers rebuked, because they are found in the same wickedness.'

SC2 Sermon, Tracts by David Fergus son, Minister of Dunfermline, 1571, <P 64>

In this argument, shall may have been the preferred modal verb for the conditional prediction in the passive voice, whereas will, which may convey intention as well as prediction, was employed in the active voice.15 (34) and (35) have a similar structure since the two //-clauses present premises, which are followed by the conclusion introduced by therefore. Sequences of two if-clauses employed in the construction of an argument are particularly common in the genre sermon, with six examples.


The analysis of if-conditionals containing will and shall in the HCOS showed that there are several conditioning factors that favour the use of will or shall in the protasis and apodosis of if-conditionals respectively.

In the conditional protasis, will is more commonly used than shall, which can be explained by the fact that the vast majority of instances of will are volitional. They may either express a person's intention or, more commonly, their willingness or refusal. Shall is particularly rare in the protases of the first two sub-periods SCO (1450-1500) and SCI (1500-1570), but then sees a rise in the last two sub-periods SC2 (1570-1640) and SC3 (1640-1700). One conditioning factor for the use of shall is genre, since it occurs only in if-clauses in legal texts, in particular in the formulaic phrase gif it sal happin, where it, however, adds little modal colouring to the condition.

In the conditional apodosis, shall is considerably more frequent than will. It seems to be preferred over will in passive constructions, in particular in its obligation use, where the passive allows for the omission of the subject, i.e. authority, issuing the regulation. One genre in which shall is particularly dominant are legal texts, where the modal auxiliary is employed exclusively to express obligation in rules and regulations. In letters, shall is frequently used in the first person to undertake a strong commitment, usually towards a social superior. The if-clause, which often leaves the option open for the addressee whether they desire this commitment or not, may provide a hedge to this strong commissive speech act. This can be interpreted as a politeness strategy employed to save the addressee's negative face.

As concerns discourse, a context where will and shall are equally likely to occur are argumentative passages in which the if-conditionals serve as structuring devices employed in the construction of an argument, e.g. in pamphlets but also in sermons. In these discourse-related uses, the modal meaning of either modal auxiliary is always prediction, i.e. they are used to express the predicted consequence of the condition given in the protasis.

Some of the trends concerning the use of will and shall described in this paper confirm the general trends of the two modal auxiliaries in the HCOS overall. The rise of low-degree modality shall in conditional protases confirms the general increase of this particular use of shall in SC2 and SC3 (cf. Elsweiler forthcoming). The preference for shall in passive constructions in conditional apodoses, in particular in its obligation meaning, also reflects the overall distribution in the HCOS.

Certain uses of the two modals are, however, more specific to conditionals. The vast majority of the instances of will in conditional protases are volitional, a preference which remains stable in all four time periods. In the larger HCOS sample, however, a decline in the volition meaning of will, in particular in SC2 and SC3, can be observed in favour of its predictive function (cf. Elsweiler forthcoming). As regards commissive shall in conditional apodoses, although these can also be found in non-conditional contexts, it is only in conditional constructions in letters that they are employed as part of a particular politeness strategy with the if-clause serving as a hedge. Similarly, although both will and shall frequently predict future events outside conditional contexts, it is in argumentative passages, where they often express the predicted consequence of a condition, that they appear as part of if-constructions serving as discourse-structuring devices.


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(1) All translations are mine.

(2) The number of instances of will and shall actually exceeds the target number of 1000 in both cases, since I decided to keep all occurrences of the two modal auxiliaries in a corpus text if the sampled output was less than ten.

(3) The respective word counts are 85100 in SCO, 201800 in SC 1, 305900 in SC2 and 241400 in SC3 (cf. html and Meurman-Solin (1993: 59-124) for more details on the structure and composition of the HCOS).

(4) Quirk et al. point out that in Present-Day English will and the negated form won't are commonly used in if-clauses to express a volitional meaning (Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, and Svartvik 1985: 1008-1009).

(5) Whereas Kopaczyk's study of lexical bundles in the legal language of Scottish burghs in the period 1380 to 1560 includes elements of if-clauses in the top range of formulaic expressions, e.g. gif it and gif it happinis (cf. 2013: 184; 233-234), her findings do not include any bundles featuring gif and sal. This further corroborates my own results regarding the increase of shall, which only sees a considerable increase in the sub-periods SC2 and SC3 (1570-1700) (cf. Table 1).

(6) The letters in the genre Official Correspondence in the sub-period SCO (1450-1500) were all written between 1400 and 1405 and therefore actually all predate the first sub-period of the HCOS.

(7) For Present-Day English Huddleston and Pullum (2002:195) note the archaic use of shall in conditional protases in English legal language in similar examples as the one above. They state that the modal construction with shall is "semantically indistinguishable" from the indicative on its own.

(8) In the corpus of the Linguistic Atlas of Older Scots I found three further instances in legal texts where sail is joined onto happin dating from the years 1459 (Duntreath Muniments), 1490 (Lennox Charters and Letters) and 1498 (Morton Papers).

(9) In a sentence such as if they fail+gie, and suffer the saids prohibited goods to be imported 'if they fail and let the aforementioned prohibited goods be imported' (SC3, Parliament, The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 1681, <P 348.C2>) the plural personal pronoun they immediately precedes the verb and therefore there is no verbal ending -is, which would be a clear indicator of the indicative.

(10) cf. gif he marrie first baselie beneath his ranke he uill euer be the lesse accoumptid of thairafter 'if he marries first basely below his rank he will ever be the less accounted of after that', SC2, Education, James VI, Basilicon Doron, 1598, <P 130> and gifyoure mynde be founde occupied upon thaime it uill be thocht ydle otheruayes 'if your mind is found occupied with them [i.e. clothes], it will be thought idle otherwise', SC2, Education, James VI, Basilicon Down, 1598, <P 175>

(11) By contrast, in Margaret Cavendish's seventeenth-century letters first-person commissive shall is very infrequent and, although overall will occurs far more often in her letters than shall, first-person will is also rare (Fitzmaurice 2000: 13-14).

(12) There are, however, two instances of first-person will that convey the letter writer's intention, which are of a different nature than the commissive shall. These examples will be discussed at the end of this section.

(13) The notion of face and the concept of positive and negative politeness were introduced by Brown and Levinson (1987). The positive face refers to a person's wish to be respected by others, whereas the negative face of a person applies to their wish not to be impeded in their actions (cf. for diachronic data Jucker and Taavitsainen 2013: 115). Positive and negative politeness strategies can be employed to safe an addressee's positive and negative face respectively (cf. Archer 2012: 657).

(14) cf. also Madame, I wreitt to yowr grace affoir with my servand and is hartlye myscontentit to hawe so neidfull occasione to molest yowr grace with my pwre adverseteis (SCI, Official Correspondence, Alexander Gordon to the Queen Dowager, 1548?, <P 239>

(15) Cf. section 5.2 on the preference of shall in passive constructions.


University of Munich
Table 1: The distribution of will and
shall in if-clauses in the HCOS

will     46   48
shall    27   109

Table 2: instances of will and shall in the four sub-periods
SC0-SC3 in the protasis of if-conditionals

         will   shall

SC0       11      1
SC1       14      5
SC2       11      9
SC3       10     12

Total     46     27

Table 3: instances of will and shall in the four sub-periods
SC0-SC3 in the apodosis of if-conditionals

         will   shall

SC0       3      18
SC1       7      45
SC2       20     24
SC3       18     22

Total     48     109
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