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Re: Language Change

From:Lars Henrik Mathiesen <thorinn@...>
Date:Sunday, January 9, 2000, 15:20
> Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2000 22:35:06 -0600 > From: Tom Wier <artabanos@...>
> I wouldn't say loss of free word order *caused* complication of > English syntax through Do-support, but rather, *allowed* for it. > Do-support seems to have been triggered by the widespread use of > auxilliaries in English, like "have" and "be" for things like the > perfect and passive constructions. This makes sense, because if most > of your finite verb forms, like in Modern English, end up as some > enbedded VP of an auxilliary, it allows for the possibility that the > rule forming interrogatives is reformulated from inversion of the > finite verb form (whether they serve as auxilliaries or not) to > inversion of the *auxilliary* verb form -- in the absence of which, > supplying a meaningless _do_.
Also, I've read that in Elizabethan English, do-periphrasis was well on its way to becoming the unmarked construction in all kinds of sentences. (As in 'I do understand,' 'Do come see us,' and similar that now are marked and convey emphasis). That trend then reversed itself for indicative clauses, but went to completion for questions. Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <thorinn@...> (Humour NOT marked)