The History of English DO

D. Gary Miller

in Language Change and Linguistic Theory, Volume II

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199583430
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595288 | DOI:
The History of English DO

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Do underwent four main structural reanalyses. The first (merger in v) took do from a causative verb to a factual/evidential auxiliary. There was also a semantically empty variant that became more frequent as V‐to‐T movement was gradually lost over the period from c15 to ca.1730. The second reanalysis was to an interrogative marker [ca.1600]. Initially, do occurred only in questions with evidential semantics, but in yes‐no questions had multiple motivations. The third reanalysis was to Cinque's highest Mood/Modal categories (epistemic, evidential, evaluative, and speech act). The fourth reanalysis was restriction to verum focus and Force/Illocution (Mood speech act). All of these changes illustrate reanalysis to higher functional positions, in this case to the highest universal functional categories proposed by Rizzi and Cinque.

Keywords: Reanalysis; English do; verum focus; Mood/Modality categories; evidential auxiliary; evidential semantics

Chapter.  13493 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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