LINGUIST List 3.1011

Wed 23 Dec 1992

Disc: Old English Object Deletion

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  1. Geoffrey Russom, Re: 3.1002 Summary: Archaic "Go to"

Message 1: Re: 3.1002 Summary: Archaic "Go to"

Date: Sat, 19 Dec 92 11:44:09 ESRe: 3.1002 Summary: Archaic "Go to"
From: Geoffrey Russom <>
Subject: Re: 3.1002 Summary: Archaic "Go to"

With regard to the speculation that expressions like "go to" derive
(historically) from object deletion, I think the Old English evidence
is sufficient to show that "go to" derives from a verb-adverb construction.
During the Old English period, what the philologists call "prepositional
adverbs" can be used (1) clitic to nouns as prepositions; (2) clitic to
verbs as unstressed prefixes, typically restricting the verbal composite
to an epistemic sense; (3) compounded with nouns (often clearly deverbatives)
and bearing the primary stress usual for first constituents in compounds;
(4) before verbs but with a stress that can be verified by metrical evidence
and without restriction of the verb to an epistemic sense; (5) with stress
after the verb. The verbs associated with prepositional adverbs
can be transitive or intransitive. Categories (4) and (5) look to me at
least like VP adverbs. If so, "Go to" is syntactically like "Go away",
with the meaning "Giddadahere". How "Go to" was derived synchronically
by speakers of Early Modern English is of course another matter. If the
prepositional adverbs themselves developed by object deletion, this happened
way before there was anything you could call English.

 -- Rick
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