LINGUIST List 4.914

Thu 04 Nov 1993

Sum: Do-Support

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  1. , Do-Support summary

Message 1: Do-Support summary

Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1993 22:44:48 -Do-Support summary
From: <>
Subject: Do-Support summary

In LINGUIST 4-837 i posted a request for some references to research on
Do-Support in English, and to similar phenomena in other languages.

First of all, i want to thank everybody who responded: Marc Authier, Kersti
Borjars, Kevin Donnelly, Connor Ferris, Susan Fisher, Dick Hudson, Helge
Lodrup, Erika Mitchell, Susan Pintzuk, Gregory Ward, Allan C. Wechsler, and
Rick Wojcik.

Susan Pintzuk <> very kindly provided citations
of Tony Kroch's work:

Kroch, Anthony S. 1989. 'Function and Grammar in the History of English:
Periphrastic "Do"' Ralph Fasold & Deborah Schiffrin, eds. Language Change
and Variation (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 52) Amsterdam:
Benjamins, pp. 133-172.

Kroch, Anthony S. 1989. 'Reflexes of Grammar in Patterns of Language
Change' Language Variation and Change 1:199-244.

Kroch, Anthony S., John Myhill, & Susan Pintzuk. 1982. 'Understanding Do'

Dick Hudson <> mentioned his discussion of Do-Support on
pp. 160-165 of his Arguments for a Non-Transformational Grammar (University
of Chicago Press 1976)

Marc Authier <> drew my attention to the following
papers which discuss (among other things) the use of infinitive Do-Support
in British English:

Pullum, G. 1981. 'The Category Status of Infinitival "to"' University of
Washington Working Papers in Linguistics 6:55-72.

Zwicky, A. & N. Levin. 1980. 'You don't have TO' Linguistic Inquiry 11:631-6.

Erika Mitchell <> sent me some relevant
excerpts (including bibliography) from her recent (1993) Cornell
dissertation, Morphological Evidence for Syntactic Structure: the
Finno-Ugric Languages and English (which itself seems like a fine addition
to this bibliography i'm trying to assemble), and a paper 'VP-Fronting,
Do-Support and Extended IP in English' which she gave at the 1993 Annual
Meeting and is appearing in the Cornell Working Papers in Linguistics. She
especially recommends the following classic:

Trnka, Bohumil. 1930. On the Syntax of the English Verb from Caxton to
Dryden. Prague.

Many of the responses i got dealt with languages other than English. The
following listing is roughly in order of increasing 'genetic' distance from

Helge Lodrup <> directed me to a paper of hers on a
Do-Support-like phenomenon in Norwegian:

Lodrup, Helge. 1990. 'VP-Topicalization and the Verb "gjore" in
Norwegian' Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax 45:3-12.

Kevin Donnelly/Caoimhin P. O'Donnaile <> drew my
attention to section 11.3.2(iv) (p. 302) of Micheal o Siadhail's Modern
Irish: Grammatical Structure and Dialectal Variation (Cambridge University
Press 1989), discussing the use of *dean* 'make, do' as an all-purpose
auxiliary, especially for 'assimilating' foreign verbal loans, a function
that 'do' served in (at least Scottish) English around the middle of this
millenium. Kevin suspects that such usage is even more extensive in the
Scottish and Manx dialects.

Rick Wojcik <> sent me an updated version of
a paper i had heard him give at the 1986 LSA Annual Meeting (back when they
were at the end, rather than the beginning, of the year!), 'Against the SVO
Hypothesis for VSO Languages', which he felt might be tangentially relevant
because most of his argument depends on the Breton equivalent of Do-Support
(which differs in many particulars from the phenomenon in English; for
instance, in Breton Do-Support does not occur in negatives while in English
that is one of its normal environments).

Allan C. Wechsler <> had a few remarks about
'auxiliaries' in Basque and Warlpiri. The most interesting was the point
(already to some extent known to me) that Warlpiri has a non-verbal
auxiliary whose sole purpose seems to be to bear subject and object
agreement markers.

Susan Fisher (aka United Snakes of America, <>)
directed me to work, by herself and others, on auxiliaries, some
semantically empty, in various sign languages:

Bos, Heleen. a paper in the Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium
on Sign Language Research.

Engberg-Pedersen, Elisabeth. 1993. a short paper on auxiliaries in Danish
Sign Language, published in Signpost.

Fischer, Susan. 1992(?) 'Auxiliaries in Japanese Sign Language' LSA
Annual Meeting.

Fischer, Susan. 1993. 'The Role of Auxiliaries in Sign Languages'
submitted for publication to International Journal of Sign Linguistics.

Smith, Wayne. 1990. 'Auxiliaries in Taiwan Sign Language' Susan Fischer
& Pat Siple, eds., Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research.
University of Chicago Press.

And, finally, a couple of respondents drew my attention to a couple of very
different perspectives on the issue:

Kersti Borjars <> drew my attention to a
paper by Lynn Santelmann on a sort of parallel of Do-Support in Swedish
NPs: 'Den-Support: an Analysis of Double Determiners in Swedish' (Anders
Holmberg, ed., Papers from the Workshop on the Scandinavian Noun Phrase,
pp. 100-118.)

Connor Ferris <ELLFERRInusvm.bitnet> comments that, from the point of view
of Thai, English has 'a lot of nice well-behaved verbs which carry affixes
where they are supposed to, expressing notions of time and aspect, and then
for no obvious reason, when a verb like e.g. "soft" or "smelly" or "proud"
or "polite" turns up [it] suddenly [has] to "invent" that meaningless
auxiliary with all the strange forms -- "be", "was", "am", etc. -- to carry
the inflexion.'
To confirm the wierdness of this state of affairs, i actually caught myself
this very morning saying to my daughter, 'I glad you willing to admit
that!' And i'm a native speaker!

Once again, thanks to all! I've definitely got the makings of a good
bibliography for my project here.
Dr. Steven Schaufele 217-344-8240
712 West Washington Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801

*** O syntagmata linguarum liberemini humanarum! ***
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