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Middle English Verbs of Emotion and Impersonal ConstructionsVerb Meaning and Syntax in Diachrony$
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Ayumi Miura

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199947157

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199947157.001.0001

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Old and Middle English Impersonal Verbs of Emotion

Old and Middle English Impersonal Verbs of Emotion

Analysis from Dictionary Meanings

Chapter:
(p.56) Chapter 4 Old and Middle English Impersonal Verbs of Emotion
Source:
Middle English Verbs of Emotion and Impersonal Constructions
Author(s):

Ayumi Miura

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199947157.003.0004

On the basis of the dates and definitions provided in dictionaries of Old and Middle English, this chapter offers a focused study of the rise and spread of impersonal constructions in each of the seven ‘Emotion’ categories in the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary which contain impersonal usage (Pleasure/enjoyment, Mental pain/suffering, Anger, Hatred/enmity, Pity/compassion, Humility, Fear). Common semantic characteristics of these verbs are then established. Verbs of Fear and Anger turn out to have parallel histories in that they first developed impersonal usage in early Middle English and that the usage shifted around the fourteenth century from verbs with a certain sense of stimulus to those which expressed general fear and anger. No such systematic change is observed with the other categories, although some of them experienced minor development around the same time.

Keywords:   Anger, Fear, Hatred/enmity, Humility, impersonal verbs, Mental pain/suffering, Middle English, Old English, Pity/compassion, Pleasure/enjoyment

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