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Academic Paper


Title: The Rise and Fall of Constructions and the History of English Do-Support
Author: Peter W. Culicover
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.ling.ohio-state.edu/~culicove
Institution: Ohio State University
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Do-support is a unique characteristic of English. Many languages other than English have do-periphrasis but not English-type do-support. This raises the obvious question: What is special about English? The goal of this paper is to provide an account of English do-support that explains why do-support, with its attendant properties, is found uniquely in English. I review the classical derivational approaches to do-support and argue that they do not satisfactorily capture the generalizations. I suggest an alternative, non-derivational account of contemporary do-support that makes crucial use of constructions. Finally, I propose an account of the history of do-support in English that characterizes the changes in terms of the content and scope of constructions. The rise of do-support can be understood as a consequence of the contraction and re-specialization of particular constructions in the wake of well-documented changes in the overt morphological system of the language.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 20, Issue 1.

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