Article published in:English Historical Linguistics 2006: Selected papers from the fourteenth International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL 14), Bergamo, 21–25 August 2006. Volume II: Lexical and Semantic Change
Edited by Richard Dury, Maurizio Gotti and Marina Dossena
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 296] 2008
► pp. 117–138
Rivalry among the verbs of wanting
This paper discusses rivalry amongst the verbs of wanting, e.g., desire, hope, want and wish. Investigation of these verbs from Middle English to present-day English based on various corpora shows that the functional and semantic expansion and reduction of these verbs during these periods have caused reshuffling among these verbs leading to the establishment of a new system of the verbs of wanting. The verb desire has reduced its function over time, while want has expanded its function since around 1800. Hope and wish have retained their functions in their respective habitat of indicative and subjunctive mood.
Published online: 09 July 2008