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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 October 2019

A new perspective on the historical development of English intensifiers and reflexives

A new perspective on the historical development of English intensifiers and reflexives

Chapter:
(p.122) (p.123) 6 A new perspective on the historical development of English intensifiers and reflexives
Source:
Grammatical Change
Author(s):

Uffe Bergeton

Roumyana Pancheva

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582624.003.0006

This chapter gives an innovative account of a distinctive property of the reflexive paradigm in English within Germanic: the absence of morphologically simplex reflexives like German sich, Dutch zich. It argues that the complex pronoun+self pattern in English originates from the combination of a null pronoun plus the intensifier pro+self: [Ø [pro+self ]]. The spread of this intensified pattern was propagated through ‘anti-reflexive’ predicates, which pragmatically disfavour reflexive complements, such as threaten, afflict. Anti-reflexive predicates required intensified reflexives, while corpus searches in Old and Middle English show that inherently reflexive predicates did not, supporting the claim that the pro+self pattern spread from the former source.

Keywords:   simplex reflexives, Germanic, null pronoun, intensifiers, anti-reflexive predicates

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