On the origin of auxiliary do

  • Garrett A
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Abstract

Prevailing theories link the English periphrastic auxiliary verb do historical with Old and Middle English causative do. I argue that these and other accounts are inconsistent with modern dialect evidence and an analysis of the historical record suggested by that evidence. The primary source of periphrastic do was a habitual aspect marker which itself arose from the reinterpretation of bare object nominalizations as infinitive verbs.

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Authors

  • Andrew Garrett

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