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The Semantic Predecessors of Need in the History of English (c750-1710)

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9270-5
292 pages
September 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
The Semantic Predecessors of Need in the History of English (c750-1710) (1405192704) cover image
In the history of English at least five verbs have been found to mean ‘need’: þurfan, beþurfan, need, behove and mister. By adopting a corpus-based approach, this book studies all of them diachronically, from the origins of the language (c.750) to the end of the early Modern English period (1710).
  • Offers a detailed analysis of the meaning of these five verbs which have been found to mean ‘need’, filling a gap in the literature on modality and shedding new light on grammaticalization theory
  • Spans the period c.750 to 1710, adopting a corpus-based approach to study the verbs diachronically
  • Explores the evolution of necessity meanings in English, identifying regular semantic changes and challenging some well-established statements
  • Provides a detailed grammaticalization analysis, paying attention to the different Present-Day-English modal classes, including marginal and emerging modals
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Acknowledgements.

Foreword by Manfred Krug.

List of tables.

List of figures.

List of abbreviations.

1 Introduction.

1.1. Preliminary considerations.

1.2. Present-Day English need and need to.

1.2.1. Traditional approaches.

1.2.2. Modern considerations.

1.2.3. Conclusion.

1.3. A diachronic corpus.

1.4. Organization of chapters.

2 Theoretical Foundations.

2.1. Introduction.

2.2. Modality in English.

2.2.1. Types of modality: root and epistemic.

2.2.2. Semantic features of Present-Day English need and need to.

2.3. Grammaticalization.

2.3.1. Processes and parameters of grammaticalization.

2.3.2. English Modals: a paradigmatic case of grammaticalization.

2.4. Impersonal verbs and constructions.

2.4.1. Terminological issues.

2.4.2. Impersonal constructions: definition and structure.

2.4.3. Allen’s (1995) classification.

2.5. Summary.

3. Tharf and Betharf.

3.1. Introduction.

3.2. Preterite-presents and pre-modals: morphology, syntax and semantics.

3.2.1. Morphology.

3.2.2. Syntax.

3.2.3. Semantics.

3.3. Tharf and betharf diachronically.

3.3.1. Semantic implications of tharf and betharf: the constraint of polarity.

3.3.1.1. Tharf.

3.3.1.1.1. Barriers.

3.3.1.1.2. External forces.

3.3.1.1.3. Internal forces.

3.3.1.1.4. General forces.

3.3.1.2. Betharf.

3.3.2. Syntactic evidence for auxiliarihood: the importance of complementation.

3.3.2.1. Tharf.

3.3.2.1.1. Types of theme selected by tharf.

3.3.2.1.2. Experiencer verb constructions found with tharf.

3.3.2.2. Betharf.

3.4. Conclusions.

4. Behove and Mister.

4.1. The evolution of behove.

4.1.1. Introduction: The myth of an impersonal verb (Allen 1997).

4.1.2. The rise and fall of a Germanic verb in English.

4.1.2.1. Semantic richness of a verb condemned to marginality.

4.1.2.1.1. Old English: Preference for internal forces.

4.1.2.1.2. Middle English: Peak in semantic richness.

4.1.2.1.2.1. General forces in Middle English.

4.1.2.1.3. Early Modern English: specialization of general forces.

4.1.2.2. Syntactic evidence for a potential grammaticalization.

4.1.3 Conclusions.

4.2. The ephemeral pass of mister through the English language.

4.2.1. Semantics.

4.2.2. Syntax.

4.2.3. Conclusion.

5. Need in the History of English.

5.1. Introduction: Need v.1 and need v.2: one or two verbs?

5.2. Semantic evolution of need.

5.2.1. Physical forces.

5.2.2. Root forces.

5.2.2.1. External forces.

5.2.2.2. Internal forces.

5.2.2.3. General forces.

5.2.3. Epistemic forces.

5.3. Syntactic evolution of need v.1 and need v.2.

5.3.1. Need v.1.

5.3.1.1. Active need v.1.

5.3.1.2. Passive need v.1.

5.3.2. Need v.2.

5.3.2.1. Need v.2: experiencer verb without an experiencer.

5.3.2.2. Need v.2: experiencer verb with an experiencer.

5.3.2.2.1. Types of themes, experiencer, and experiencer verb construction.

5.3.2.2.2. Need v.2 in Type ‘Personal’ Constructions: evidence for auxiliarihood.

5.3.2.2.2.1. EModE auxiliaries.

5.3.2.2.2.2. Need v.2 in the ‘Personal’ Type in early Modern English.

5.4. Conclusions.

6. Conclusions.

Appendices.

References.

List of Tables.

Index.

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Lucía Loureiro-Porto teaches grammar and linguistic variation within the Department of Spanish, Modern Languages and Latin at the Universitat de les Illes Balears (Balearic Islands, Spain). She has previously held teaching and research positions at Reed College, Portland, and at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. Her main research interests are the study of grammaticalization processes in the history of English, English historical syntax and semantics, and sociolinguistic variation from both a synchronic and a diachronic perspective.
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  • In the history of English at least five verbs have been found to mean ‘need’: þurfan, beþurfan, need, behove, and mister; this book offers a detailed and analysis of these meanings, filling a gap in the literature on modality and shedding new light on grammaticalization theory

  • Adopts a corpus-based approach to study the verbs diachronically, from the origins of the language (c.750) to the end of the early Modern English period (1710)

  • Explores the evolution of necessity meanings in English, identifying regular semantic changes and challenging some well-established statements

  • Provides a detailed grammaticalization analysis, paying attention to the different Present-Day-English modal classes, including marginal and emerging modals
See More
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