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Grammatical ChangeOrigins, Nature, Outcomes$
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Dianne Jonas, John Whitman, and Andrew Garrett

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199582624

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582624.001.0001

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The historical syntax problem:reanalysis and directionality

The historical syntax problem:reanalysis and directionality

Chapter:
(p.52) 3 The historical syntax problem:reanalysis and directionality
Source:
Grammatical Change
Author(s):

Andrew Garrett

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582624.003.0003

This chapter suggests that the interest in reanalysis as a mechanism of change, while rightly focusing attention on syntactic structure, also contributes to a blinkered view of diachrony. It exemplifies this view with accounts of two widely discussed changes: the Middle English emergence of for noun phrase (NP) to verb phrase (VP) infinitivals, and the Early Modern English emergence of the be going to future. These accounts illustrate an approach whose goal is not just to characterize reanalyses but to understand what lies behind them. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 3.2 comments on the modern interest in reanalysis and then treats alleged reanalysis changes as cases of analogy or grammaticalization. Section 3.3 shows that radical reanalysis in syntactic change has been overemphasized, and that most of the changes involved in one well-known alleged case (the English for NP to VP pattern) are broadly analogical. Section 3.4 proposes a new account of the emergence of the English be going to future. This case shows how the combinatorial properties of a source pattern give rise to the properties of an emergent one in grammaticalization. Section 3.5 concludes.

Keywords:   syntactic reanalysis, syntactic structure, diachrony, Middle English, infinitivals, Early Modern English, be going, syntactic change

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