Article published in:Synchrony and Diachrony: A dynamic interface
Edited by Anna Giacalone Ramat, Caterina Mauri and Piera Molinelli
[Studies in Language Companion Series 133] 2013
► pp. 79–104
Can you literally be scared sick?
The role of analogy in the rise of a network of Resultative and Degree Modifier constructions
This paper examines an unexpected pattern of change related to the Resultative and Degree Modifier constructions np1 scare np2 sick/np be (literally) scared sick in the light of comparable diachronic changes (Margerie 2011). While some resultative constructions of the form np1 vb np2 xp//np be adj xp were historically reanalysed into Degree Modifier constructions, the data concerning the micro-constructions under study do not suggest a similar pathway. Rather, it seems that they were shaped analogically on the model of formally and functionally similar extant constructions, thus supporting Fischer’s (2010, inter alia) emphasis on the crucial role of the synchronic linguistic system in language change.
Published online: 31 May 2013