Edited by Evie Coussé, Peter Andersson and Joel Olofsson
[Constructional Approaches to Language 21] 2018
► pp. 43–74
Grammaticalisation cut short
A diachronic constructional view on English posture verbs
This article provides a corpus-based diachronic constructional analysis of the three English cardinal posture verbs (hence CPVs) sit, stand and lie. Contrary to their equivalents in genetically related languages, the English CPVs have not grammaticalised into locative, progressive, or habitual markers or into copulas. The data reveal some degree of grammaticalisation in the earlier stages which suggests that the grammaticalisation was cut short. The paper evaluates Newman’s (2009) hypothesis that the English CPVs did not further grammaticalise because of their increased use to refer to a dynamic event of getting into a sitting, standing or lying posture. The data also reveal that two (more strongly grammaticalised) copula constructions lingered on much longer, thereby constituting grammaticalised ‘islands’, especially in idiomatic uses.
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