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Auxiliary Verb Constructions$
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Gregory D.S. Anderson

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199280315

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199280315.001.0001

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lex-headed Auxiliary Verb Constructions

lex-headed Auxiliary Verb Constructions

(p.116) 3 LEX-headed Auxiliary Verb Constructions
Auxiliary Verb Constructions

Gregory D. S. Anderson

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the LEX-headed inflectional pattern. In this construction, the lexical verb bears all the obligatory inflectional categories, and the auxiliary verb may appear in an uninflecting form, expressing only the category that it functions to encode. This construction is noteworthy insofar as the phrasal or syntactic head is generally the auxiliary verb, but the inflectional head is the lexical verb. In many descriptions, the auxiliary in the LEX-headed pattern is analysed as an uninflecting particle. However, when considering the functional semantics of the element and the fact that these historically originate from verbal elements, the semantics of which are in accord with the semantic developments typical of the process of auxiliation, it seems clear that these in certain instances should rather be considered as reflecting an AVC of the LEX-headed inflectional pattern. Lexical verbs, although bearing obligatory inflectional categories for the clause (other than those embodied or encoded by the auxiliary itself), may also bear an overt marker of dependency, further underscoring their presence in a grammaticalized AVC, albeit one in which the auxiliary itself bears no inflection. The LEX-headed pattern here also includes situations in which there is a dummy third singular ‘clausal’ subject marker found with the auxiliary, sometimes reflecting the construction’s origin in a reanalysed biclausal verb plus complement structure or in an ambient serialization construction.

Keywords:   inflection, syntax, modal categories, semantics, biclausal verb, serial verb, verb complements

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