Chapter published in:Developments in English Historical Morpho-Syntax
Edited by Claudia Claridge and Birte Bös
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 346] 2019
► pp. 129–148
A corpus-based study on the development of dare in Middle English and Early Modern English
This study argues that the changes undergone by dare in late Middle English cannot be explained solely in terms of the phonological similarity between dare and tharf, but also by the relationship between tharf and the verb need, plus the influence that the latter exerted on dare. The aim of this study is to analyse the semantic and structural changes that the verbs dare, tharf and need undergo in the period between Middle English and Early Modern English. The data are drawn from The Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English, The Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Early Modern English and The Penn Corpus of Early English Correspondence. The analysis confirms that the verbs dare and tharf were confused in Middle English in non-assertive and 'fear' contexts. With the obsolescence of tharf, dare begins to occur more frequently in assertive contexts, and also starts to exhibit lexical features due to the influence exerted by need.
Keywords: pre-modal verbs, regularisation, assertivity, blend construction, impersonal verbs
Published online: 27 May 2019
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