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Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax$
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Eric Mathieu and Robert Truswell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198747840.001.0001

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On the grammaticalization of temporal–aspectual heads: The case of German versprechen ‘promise’

On the grammaticalization of temporal–aspectual heads: The case of German versprechen ‘promise’

Chapter:
(p.255) 16 On the grammaticalization of temporal–aspectual heads: The case of German versprechen ‘promise’
Source:
Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax
Author(s):

Łukasz Jędrzejowski

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198747840.003.0016

This chapter deals with the origin and the development of the functional use of the predicate versprechen ‘promise’ in the history of German. Synchronically, it illustrates that versprechen can be used in two different ways in Present-Day German: either as a lexical verbal head or as a functional verbal head. It also demonstrates to what extent these uses differ and accounts for where these differences come from. Diachronically, it shows that versprechen grammaticalized into a prospective aspect marker in Early New High German (1350–1650), and illustrates that grammaticalization is upward and leftward in the syntactic structure. Accordingly, it is argued that versprechen as a functional verbal head first started embedding DP complements and, as time went on, extended its usage to select infinitives as well, giving rise to a subject-to-subject raising analysis.

Keywords:   grammaticalization, subject-to-subject raising, functional verbal head, DP/infinitive complements, reanalysis, German, verspreche

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