Chapter published in:English Historical Linguistics 2008: Selected papers from the fifteenth International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL 15), Munich, 24-30 August 2008.. Volume I: The history of English verbal and nominal constructions
Edited by Ursula Lenker, Judith Huber and Robert Mailhammer
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 314] 2010
► pp. 79–94
On the idiomatization of “give + O + to” constructions
This paper discusses the idiomatization process of the “give + O + to” construction (e.g. give rise to and give way to). Investigation of this construction from Middle English to Present-Day English based on various corpora shows that, in the process of change of “give + indirect object + direct object” to “give + O + to”, the latter construction has strengthened its idiomatic nature leading to the development of many idioms based on this construction in Present-Day English. The function of eventive objects without suffixes (e.g. credit and rise) as direct objects is essential in this process of idiomatization. Of various factors contributing to the idiom formation of the “give + O + to” construction, weakening of nouniness of the direct object, construction and frequency, and French influence play the most important roles.
Published online: 28 October 2010