Chapter published in:Word Order Change in Acquisition and Language Contact: Essays in honour of Ans van Kemenade
Edited by Bettelou Los and Pieter de Haan
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 243] 2017
► pp. 213–239
The rise and fall of the passive auxiliary weorÃ°an in the history of English
This paper gives a quantative analyisis of the dynamics of the passive auxiliary weorÃ°an favouring passive BE in the history of English. WeorÃ°an displays a rise-and-fall pattern rather than a decline pattern: it forms a peak, which is interpreted as a â€˜failed changeâ€™. This failed change turns out to be dynamically connected to another failed change: the rise-and-fall of strict V2 in Old English. The connection between strict V2 and the need of weorÃ°an (and its counterparts) is considered: (1) language-internally in Dutch (dialects), (2) cross-linguistically in Romance and Germanic, (3) diachronically for Old and Middle-English. By using a Giorgi/Pianesi-style syntactic projection of Reichenbachian S,E,R-events, we provide a model that includes V2 and the passive diathesis, which predicts this correlation.
Published online: 14 December 2017
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